Homestyle Mediterranean fare goes high-end in this new rustic shophouse eatery


The Keong Saik Road stretch has been undergoing a bit of a revamp lately, with cool new hotspots like Gaston and Pasta Bar taking up space next to long-time local favorites such as Tong Ah Eating House and Kok Sen Restaurant.

Next in line on the new opening list: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge. More than just another Mediterranean eatery, the brand is co-founded by Alain Devahive, who takes charge of the kitchen armed with experience in Michelin-starred names, including Spain’s now-closed El Bulli, once touted as the world’s best.

Photo: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge

Named after the chef’s daughter, the concept spotlights its open kitchen, where diners can watch all the behind-the-scenes bustle involved in creating flavors inspired by Barcelona. Like most contemporary restaurants these days, the menu blends traditional Mediterranean cuisine with modern renditions of familiar classics.

Starter plates to try include dry-aged Galician beef that’s been marinated for 45 days ($32), Ibérico ham, cheese, and truffle “bikini” ($12), and a Catalunya-style lobster-avocado roll ($25).

Lobster avocado roll. Photo: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge

When it comes to the mains, be ready to splash out on heavier price tags, with items such as Ibiza-style fish and seafood stew ($38), tenderloin steak tartare with avruga caviar and fried potatoes ($48), and wagyu striploin with truffle sauce and confit piquillo peppers ($64). Indulgent diners can even add on caviar ($30/5g) or truffle ($28/5g) to their orders.

Tenderloin steak tartare with avruga caviar. Photo: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge

As for desserts, besides cakes of the day and a cheese selection, the line-up offers cinnamon-flavored caramelized rice pudding ($7), house-made cheesecake ($14), and cheese flan with mixed berries ($7).

To top it all off, get a bottle of Spanish wine from a selection curated by a former Michelin sommelier, or start with a cocktail from the “liquid art” section, with concoctions such as Bitter Sweet Love ($22) of butter fat-washed spiced rum with patron XO, espresso and hazelnut liquor. You can customize a blend to your liking as well, for the price of $24.

Photo: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge

Adding to the ambience, the rustic vibes of Olivia come together with exposed brick and handmade ceramics on the walls, plus sculptures and pots from Barcelona brightening up the place. Its countertop seats take casual diners, while the booths make space for couples on a date, and bigger groups of friends can huddle together at one of the wooden tables for a chill weekend brunch.


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