Dining In 2 minutes 23 April 2019

Recipe: Lobster Avocado Roll With Caviar

Alain Devahive of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge shares his love for quintessential Catalan culture and a recipe to impress.


With its azure booth seats, exposed brick walls and beachy mud-tile floors, Olivia Restaurant & Lounge is a little slice of Mediterranean paradise tucked along Keong Saik Road. At the helm is Catalan chef Alain Devahive who spent a definitive decade of his career at elBullitaller, the cutting-edge food research lab of the legendary el Bulli restaurant.

But it’s not foams and spheres you’ll find at Olivia; the cuisine is more grounded in the chef’s growing up years in Barcelona and a sun-soaked celebration of Catalan culture.
The interiors of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge. (Pic: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge)
The interiors of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge. (Pic: Olivia Restaurant & Lounge)
“My grandmother taught me that everything starts with the ingredients and that’s advice I hold to heart until now,” he says. “I will never forget the fragrant smells of the cooking that I was lucky to have come across as a young boy in Barcelona. Everything about the way she cooked — how she moved around the kitchen, the fresh ingredients she picked, her method of preparing the food, the scents which radiated through the kitchen and the passion she had — created memories I will carry with me forever.”
Alain Smilin in Kitchen.jpg
Olivia captures a taste of modern Barcelona with its contemporary twist on home-style cooking. “This philosophy to combine tradition with modernity and familiarity with something new is a spirit I’ve adopted through my years at elBulli,” Devahive says. It is also reflective of Barcelona’s cosmopolitan and multicultural nature, where international cuisines and exposure to global ingredients have made Barcelona a dynamic culinary destination.

One of the chef’s favourite countries to visit is Japan. He recalls the one time he was having lunch in one of his favourite places, a cosy sushi bar with a tiny countertop, when the sheer artistry of sushi in Japanese cuisine hit him and he decided he wanted to pay homage to it at his own restaurant. 
The lobster avocado roll was first created for the now-defunct modern Spanish hotspot Catalunya which made a splash when it opened at Fullerton Pavilion in 2012 and quickly became a signature dish there, one that Devahive wanted to bring back to Olivia.

“The result is something that everybody can recognise as a dish which marries Japan with influences from Barcelona and Spain,” he says. “The plates we serve are a clear representation of Mediterranean flavours, but we decided to fuse the elements of Barcelona with Japan into the sauce to keep a great balance of freshness, intensity, elegance and taste.”
Lobster Avocado Roll With Caviar
Makes 1 roll

To prepare the lobster:
1 whole lobster (about 500g including shell)

1. Steam the lobster for 7 minutes at 100°C.
2. Cool down in an ice bath.
3. Separate the head from the body and legs. Remove the corals from the head. Reserve head for lobster sauce.
4. Remove the lobster meat from the body and claws. Dice the meat and reserve about 70g for the lobster filling.

For the lobster filling:
Meat of 1 lobster (about 70g), diced
4g shallots
4g capers
2g gherkins
Salt and black pepper to taste
16g mayonnaise

1. Mix all the ingredients well and set aside.

For the lobster sauce:
1 lobster head, cut in half
45g purple onion
20g carrot
3g minced garlic
Half a sweet pimento
Half a strand of saffron
25ml brandy
25g grated tomato
180ml water

1. Cut the vegetables in mirepoix.
2. In a pot, saute the lobster head on all sides with the olive oil and garlic.
3. When the garlic starts to brown, add the vegetables, saffron and brandy. Cook until the brandy starts to reduce, then add water and boil for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
4. Strain and discard the solids. Set aside the sauce.

For the avocado roll:

1 ripe avocado
60g lobster filling
3g salmon roe
1g Avruga caviar
3g ponzu sauce
1g sesame oil
25g lobster sauce

1. Slice the avocado into thin slices with a mandolin. Place onto parchment paper layer by layer, slightly overlapping.
2. Place the lobster mixture down the centre of the avocado.
3. Using the parchment paper, lift and roll the avocado slices around the lobster meat to form a tube. Remove the parchment paper.
4. To assemble, add some lobster sauce on top and place the salmon roe and caviar along the top of the avocado roll. Finish with sesame oil and ponzu sauce around the roll.
All photos courtesy of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge.

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