Arbite – Best Homemade Pasta (PLUS interview with Owner/Chef Marc Wee)
Climbing up the stairs to Arbite, is like entering into a cosy house. With a white minimalist theme, this sleek restaurant has whitewashed walls and simple furniture pieces, which allows guests to eat, drink and chill out together.
Arbite values in preparing quality European fare with affordable price, so they offer nothing but home-made and fresh ingredients, lovingly picked by their owner/chef Marc Wee everyday. This is their secret, and this is what makes them one of the best pasta/brunch place to eat in Singapore.
Hand-tossed, freshly-made dough is used for their pasta and they make sure that only the freshest, and best produce in the market are served to ensure guests would enjoy to the fullest.
To celebrate Arbite’s 2nd birthday, the restaurant will be revamping the menu, with new dishes starting from 31 March! Incorporating Asian flavours in western dishes is a big part of Arbite’s culinary philosophy.
For the new menu, they will take things further by re-working on their handmade pastas. Hence, they have created two new pastas: Green Tea Fettuccine with Smoked Duck Breast and a Pepper Infused Spaghettni with Soft shell crab.
The Green Tea Fettuccine ($24.90) is served with smoked duck breast, semi sun dried tomatoes, button mushrooms and topped with a garlic malto. Marc added matcha poweder into their fresh pasta, hence giving it a lovely emerald green hand cut fettuccine bearing subtle hints of green tea but still maintaining the right bite.
Marc says, every plate of pasta he cooks must be of balance in flavour. Using a molecular gastronomy technique, he has infused a subtle garlic oil into maltose dextrin to give a very fine garlic powder that is lavishly sprinkled on the dish. The garlic malto flavours but does not overpower the other ingredients, leaving a delicate taste of green tea with every bite.
The lightness of the pasta complemented well with smoked duck, mushrooms and semi sun dried tomatoes, which also gives the dish new dimension in taste.
Inspired by the popular black pepper crab, three different types of pepper are infused into the spaghettini (a thinner version of spaghetti). A mix of green, pink and black peppercorns were also used to balance out the spiciness that comes with peppers.
End result? Fragrant Tri Pepper Spaghettini with Soft Shell Crab ($26.90) with a certain level of crunchiness. Kaffiar lime iinfused tempura battered soft shell crab is added which works really well with the chilli and spring onion.
We were abit tam chiak that day because everything in the menu looks good. So we ordered a plate of Arbite Breakfast ($15.90) which consists of scrambled eggs, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomato, veal bratwurst, sauteed mushrooms and pommes noisettes. Very generous serving. How can anyone not love All Day Breakfast!
Our dessert was Stuffed ciabatta Garden French Toast ($16.90) with a dark chocolate and almon ganache served with candied bacon, maple syrup and fresh berries. The layer of chocolate hidden inside makes a wonderful flavor combination with the french toast.
Young and talented chef cum owner is hard to come by. My lunch at Arbite includes a casual chit chat with 30-year-old Marc who has so much passion when it comes to his food and restaurant. So I grabbed the opportunity and did an email interview with him.
1. What made you decide you would become a professional cook?
I started working as a waiter and slowly fell in love with the whole expect of a restaurant. But realised the backbone of any F&B establishment is the food, so I knew if ever I wanted to open my own restaurant, I need to learn to cook.
2. Favorite food to cook with?
Chicken. Although it is a very common ingredient, it is also the beauty of it. Everyone can enjoy it and it can be done in so many different ways. But I like to do it simple, marinate it with olive oil, rosemary and thyme, a bit of garlic and pepper and on the grill. Use it for a sandwich or pasta. Simple.
3. Funniest kitchen incident?
When I was working in a restaurant many years back , my chef wanted to play a prank on one of the cooks. So we took the eggs from the egg basket and poked a small hole in the eggs and emptied it. We put the eggs shells back and waited. So during the shift the cook reached for the eggs and cracked it opened to find it was empty. After the third or fourth one she got flustered and started shouting there is something wrong! But all of us gave her a straight face and told her there was nothing wrong with the eggs. So she started to panic, but we couldn’t take it and burst out laughing.
4. Are there any ingredients that define your cooking?
Flour and salt. Flour because there are so many things I use it for like making my pasta. Salt because I find that it is essential in every dish that I do. Even in desserts!
5. Why did you decide to open Arbite?
I believe that food shouldn’t be overly complicated and that there should be a certain honesty in the food that we serve. We should know what goes into our food and how it is being cooked. Most importantly I believe that good food shouldn’t be exorbitantly priced. Good food should be priced reasonably for all to enjoy. And with my own place I can control all these factors and fulfil this dream I always believed in.
6. Why the name?
Work is something that most of us do and we work very hard at our jobs. And in a restaurant we are presenting our work in every expect in your dining experience. So when looking for a single word to describe that my partner came up with the German word for work-Arbeit, so we decied to play with the word and Arbite was born.
7. It’s definitely not easy being a chef and owner. What are some of the challenges you faced?
Being everything. The Chef, Accountant, Human Resource, Service Manager and Marketing, dealing with all aspects of the business. I have to wear many hats and wear them well.
8. How did you settle on your recipes?
I would get “test subjects” to come try out the new ideas that I might have conceived. They can be my partners, regulars or friends. Some work and some don’t. And after if 9 out of the 10 like it, I will most probably put it on the menu.
9. When you come up a pasta dish, what goes in your head?
Is there something I can do differently, in terms of taste? Is there something that I had recently that would be fun to be eaten as a pasta dish? Are the ingredients complimentary to each other? Is there a balance? In the end everything should go well together.
10. Best pasta cooking tip for a novice?
Start off simple, use ready made sauces if you don’t have the time. Being overly ambitious might leave you feeling dissapointed if it doesn’t come out right. And you might not want to cook anymore.
Thank you Marc for the interview! 😀
Address: 66A Serangoon Garden Way
Tel: 6287 0430
Opening hours: Tue – Fri 11.30 am – 3.00 pm, 6.00pm – 10.30 pm; Sat – Sun 11.00 am – 10.30 pm. Closed on Mondays.