Mediterranean in Myanmar: Olea Restaurant Adds New Spanish Delights to Its Menu

By Lwin Mar Htun 18 October 2019

YANGON—Olea Mediterranean Restaurant, already famous for its authentic Spanish cuisine, has freshened things up this month with the launch of a new menu of Spanish and Mediterranean dishes.

Olea is located in the Melia Hotel Yangon, whose executive chef, Lluis Cantons Pesarrodona, has designed an entirely new menu for the restaurant.

A fine-dining restaurant, Olea’s menu features dishes inspired by the traditional cuisines of Mediterranean countries including Greece, Spain, Italy and France. Now, the restaurant is expanding its range of Spanish culinary offerings.

Olea salad, made from tomato confit, charcoal capsicum, tuna, olives and Spanish dressing drizzled over idiazabal cheese shavings. / Supplied

The restaurant is beautifully decorated in bright shades of white, blue and cream, giving it a real Mediterranean atmosphere. The restaurant is only open for afternoon high tea and dinner.

At a recent dinner, I kicked things off with the hummus and babaganoush, a vegan starter that features young vegetables including baby corn and asparagus, as well as a mashed-eggplant-and-chickpeas dipping cream served with bread. The dipping cream is made with various spices.

I put the vegetables in the middle of a piece of bread and ate it covered with the dip—which is really creamy. Their homemade bread was soft and the baked vegetables very fresh. The dish made for a lovely, fresh start.

Then I tried the Olea salad, which was a mix of tomato confit, charcoal capsicum, tuna and olives with Spanish dressing drizzled over shaved idiazabal cheese. The salad is a bit sour but it smells delicious and makes a perfect combination with the idiazabal cheese.

Ajillo prawns, a Spanish-style garlic prawn dish / Supplied

Next up was the Ajillo prawns, a Spanish-style garlic prawn dish. The restaurant cooked it in olive oil using fresh garlic and chili powder. According to the chef, “It’s suitable as a starter or a sharing plate.”

After seeing the plate, I was worried it would be too oily, but it wasn’t. The fresh garlic aroma was wonderful and the prawns were really fresh and clean—not at all fishy.

Another new addition to the menu is the foie gras. This dish features pan-fried goose liver served with apple chutney on crispy brioche (a type of bread). The outer layer of the foie gras seems crisp but the inside is beautifully soft. The chef cooked it well, ensuring that there was no powerful odor. The taste is very rich, and the texture is soft and melts on the tongue—it’s highly recommended.

The other main dish I tried was the Lobster rice in a pot, a Spanish favorite. The dish is cooked by mixing Spanish rice, lobster, tiger prawns, squid, porcini mushroom, squid and black mussels in a pot.

Olea’s modern, charming interior design and décor / Htet Wai

Myanmar people love their rice, and this one might be the perfect dish for locals. The texture of the lobster was amazing and the meat was really sweet and tender; I could feel the freshness of all the ingredients of this dish in one bite. Two people can share this main dish because the serving is generous.

After this long journey through Spanish cuisine, it was dessert time. I tried the Araguani 72% chocolate dome with chocolate brownie mousse and hot caramel served with mixed berry compote. The chef said, “This is the best chocolate in the world and it’s perfect with wine”—and I fully agreed. The taste of the chocolate is bitter but combined with the sweet hot caramel and mixed berries, it eases the fullness of the stomach after such a big meal. It’s a great dessert.

So, my foods tour ended there. All of the items on Olea’s new menu are worth a try and fully recommended, and made especially enjoyable thanks to the great atmosphere provided by the restaurant, the high-quality ingredients and the whole experience of dining in a five-star hotel.