Make a match at A for Arbite
Arbite, a quaint restaurant within Serangoon Gardens which is popular for brunch and dinner, is not a stranger to many of us. Their latest restaurant A for Arbite has a totally different concept and it is a welcoming change. Located on Aliwal Street, where the trendy Haji Lane is just a stone’s throw away, A for Arbite aims to be more creative with a focus on food pairings. Each of the dinner items has a suggested drink pairing, resulting in a more complete dining experience.
Since opening in March this year, A for Arbite’s drink pairing menu has opened diners’ eyes to unusual Belgian craft beers as well as the unique fusion foods and high-quality ingredients. But the restaurant has recently revamped its entire dinner menu, where Chef Marc wanted to develop and refine the concept and give people an experience greater than simply eating at a restaurant – all while keeping prices affordable.
The wide range, smaller portion sizes and lower price of the dishes lets diners try a wide variety of items without getting full on a single main course. New cooking and preparation techniques have been introduced and can be seen in dishes like the very clever all-in-one Egg benedict ($3). You don’t get the typical huge and runny egg. Instead, squarish brioche is served with black forest ham, poached quail egg and hollandaise. Simply pop the entire bread into the mouth and enjoy the burst of flavours from within.
Caesar salad ($6) arrives with two pieces of romaine leaves with grana padano, croutons, shaved egg, tempura anchovie and bacon bilis in caesar dressing. An interesting portion but it was a messy affair for me as I was only able to bite half of leaves and the ingredients topples down.
The pan-fried scallops ($8) drew praises from us. The scallop is succulent and generously sized with prune, balsamic puree and crispy parma ham.
Looking similar to cha soba, Green Tea Spaghettini ($7) featured handmade green tea pasta, smoked duck breast, wasabi tobiko and lapsang souchong broth. Simply pour the broth into the noodles, the flavour of the green tea is discernible but not overpowering as it’s balanced with the lovely smoky flavour from lapsang souchong broth.
Portobello and lentil stack ($9) is surprisingly my favourite, even though I am not a fan of eggplants. These grilled eggplant, zucchini, lentil and mushroom ragout is bursting with juice and pair well with the heartiness of the lentils!
A very unique presentation for Salad Nicoise ($6) which has tuna loin tataki, shaved egg, potato confit, tomato and olive agar, served with Cabernet Sauvignon dressing. The richly flavored sauce turns a simple salad into an elegant affair. But I thought the tomato and olive agar had a rather acquired taste.
Braised smoked pork belly ($7) is always a dish that provides maximum pleasure. The streaky bacon is braised for 36 hours till tender and delicious. It is served with kimchi and tucked into a leaf bun, which is similar to our the Chinese version of Kong Bak Pau.
Morocon spiced Deep fried quail ($8.50) is served with chilli jam and sprinkled with sumac.
Jar of Duck ($19.50) is one of my favourite starters. A terrine of tiny shreds of tender, succulent duck melded together with black truffle, foie gras, smoked duck breast and roasted grapes, then served with crackers to counteract the richness. I thought the smoked duck was too overwhelming and it has unfortunately covered up the sweetness of duck rillettes and aroma of black truffle and foie gras.
Our favourite dish for that night is Squid Ink Risotto ($16.50). The short grain arborio rice had a nice chewy consistency which is always something we looked for in a good plate of risotto. It is served with a generous portion of seafood such as prawns, squid, mussels, crabmeat and deep fried halibut.
Being a sucker for french toast, their French Toast with G.M. Mascarpone ($5) is quite a good one. It may not be the prettiest, but it has a strong coffee aroma in the brioche, and the sweet gula melaka mascarpone cream cheese.
I never thought I would like their Ginseng Panna Cotta ($7). The first mouthful had a obvious bitter taste but as I slowly eat it, I begin to taste the sweetness from the wolf berries and chrysanthemum sorbet which is rather refreshing.
We enjoyed our dinner with the singing by The A Cappella Society.
A for Arbite
Address: 28 Aliwal Street, #01-01 Aliwal Arts Centre
Tel: 8321 2252
Tue – Fri 11.30 am – 11 pm; Sat 11 am-11 pm ; Sun 9 am- 9 pm. Closed on Mondays.
From 26 – 29 September, A for Arbite will be holding CRAFT at A for Arbite and the Aliwal Arts Centre, to celebrate dedication, hard work and creativity.
CRAFT is a four-day event celebrating the best of Singapore’s crafters, artists and artisans, centred around fine food and drink and hosted by A for Arbite. This new restaurant will be serving up its own twist on local street food, while playing host to live workshops, demonstrations, artworks and interactive experiences.
Food and beverage pairing is the focus of A for Arbite, but they have had more than a few people visit them who have been unsure of exactly how it works and afraid of making a mistake. Beers can either compliment (echo a common flavour like sweetness in both the meat and the beer) or contrast (provide an opposite dimension to the flavour of the food such as pairing a golden ale that has a clean and sweet-spicy finish to cut through the milky and salty characters of a cream-based pasta).
So if you wish to learn more about beer and food pairing, register for the workshop on 29 September 2013 from 12pm to 2pm. At this workshop, co-presented by A for Arbite and The Drinking Partners, attendees will have the chance to appreciate and learn more about food and beer pairing, including the ways to recognise and describe the bouquet, palate and mouthfeel of beers, and how different beers compliment, contrast or cut with different dishes. There will, of course, be food and beer to drink so this one is for ages 18+! Tickets are priced at $30/pax.
Thanks to A for Arbite, I am giving away A FREE PAIR of tickets to the Beer & Food Pairing workshop to one lucky reader that is happening on next Sunday (29 September 2013). The event is from 12pm to 2pm and you will to eat and have beer! All you have to do is to answer a simple question:
Question: Where will CRAFT take place?
Giveaway ends on 24 September 2013 (Tuesday), 11:59. A random generator will be used, everyone has an equal chance of winning. Good luck and make sure you can make it on 29 September 2013 ah! If you never win, also go there and have fun!