Olivia Restaurant & Lounge at Keong Saik Road seems unassuming in name but there's more than meets the eye. Dubbed after his daughter, chef and co-founder Alain Devahive adopts authentic native Catalan cooking techniques at the blossoming dining spot. Moreover, Devahive has amassed decades of culinary experience with Michelin-starred el Bulli and the celebrated but now-defunct Catalunya. Now that's reliable credentials.
Devahive's persistence on elevating Barcelona home-style cooking has birthed quality yet comfort creations using versatile ingredients. Both hearty and honest, expect your soul to be well-nourished by the marriage of borrowed traditions and contemporary renditions of Catalan classics.
Situated at Kēsa House, a 10-shophouse that encompasses boutique accommodations, bars and eateries, Olivia's striking Mediterranean accents depicts a comfortable yet modern Barcelona. Barcelona-based design firm Lázaro Rosa-Violán included handmade coloured ceramics, wood elements, and textured fabrics to instil a homely intimate touch that reminisces Catalan terraces. But attention will still be on its hearty menu and chefs. In particular, Olivia's open kitchen in the heart of the restaurant showcased cooked up visual and aromatic spectaculars without interior obstructions.
Start off with the crowd-pleasing Ibérico Ham, Cheese and Truffle 'Bikini'. Contrary to its name, the sandwich is anything but skimpy and itsy-bitsy. Wedged between crusty toasted bread, this union of Jamon Iberico ham, truffle and melted cheese opens up diners' appetite easily.
Lobsters are currently having a moment and the Homemade 'Catalunya' Lobster-Avocado Roll doesn't disappoint. Previously a star signature at Catalunya (of course), Devahive brought this chunky familiar favourite back to gather more fans. Embraced in sliced buttery avocado with Ikura and caviar topping, flavours of the sea dominates the palate. It avoids a heavy aftertaste, thanks to a drizzle of refreshing ponzu sauce.
What's Spanish fare without paella? Olivia's rendition, Arroz Negra (black rice) with Grilled Mediterranean Red Prawns, locks in the umami seafood stock consisting of fish heads and bones to every plump rice grain. In addition, it sports a glistening charcoal-tint coating after infusing in squid ink.
Round up the mains with Grilled “Secreto Ibérico” Pork with 'Padrón' Peppers & 'Pico de Gallo'. The crispy skin-armoured succulent suckling pig is bound to disappear from its presented form within seconds after serving. Its accompanying juicy grilled pineapple and seasoned peppers also impressed when consumed together with the tender pork.
Lastly, entrust your wine pairing selections to COO Miquel Sabrià, who leads the restaurant's operations. The former Michelin Sommelier pulled out excellent bottles like Catalunya’s organic broken rose El Mago and the Spanish Paco & Lola Albarino 2017.
Desserts play a minor role in most menus, but not at Olivia. Enter Olivia's Creamy Homemade Cheesecake. Baked freshly in-house daily, its smooth molten blue cheese-filled centre oozes out after an easy pry with a fork. You can also enhance its decadence with black truffle shavings upon request. Although leaning towards savoury, this chilled delight isn't cloying and you definitely will want more than seconds.
How we feel about it in a gif
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge is located at 55 Keong Saik Rd, #01-03, Singapore 089158. For operating and more information, visit Olivia Restaurant & Lounge's dedicated webpage.