From my last review of Arbite in October 2011, the charming restaurant has made a teeny-weeny bit of modification to its interior. The then-existing cosy corner with sofa seating and a coffee table has now been replaced with dining tables to cater to the overflowing dining crowd.
To celebrate it’s second anniversary, Arbite is launching a new menu that showcases refined fresh handmade pasta with an inventive touch, along with perennial favourites that are not to be missed.
The menu offers a wide variety of delectable choices, thus posing a formidable challenge of decision-making. Can we please order everything?
Tri Pepper Spaghettini with Soft Shell Crab ($26.90)
Green, pink and black pepper pasta with jumbo lump swimmer crab meat, leek, garlic, chilli, spring onion, extra virgin olive oil and tempura battered soft shell crab
The Tri Pepper Spaghettini with Soft Shell Crab is a new item on the menu that features handmade spaghettini – a skinny (mini) version of a spaghetti and a fatter version of an angel hair pasta – that is nicely seasoned with green, pink and black pepper, and tossed with chunks of crabmeat and extra virgin olive oil. It is finally crowned with a soft shell crab, embraced in an ethereal tempura batter, fried to a perfect shade of golden brown –the gentlest bite into the delicate crust gives way to a soft interior. The lovely presentation makes this dish even more appealing.
Chef Marc Wee, has definitely done justice to the crustacean in this dish, parallel to the well-executed Crab Cake ($13.90) that I thoroughly enjoyed from my previous visit.
Green Tea Fettucini with Smoked Duck ($24.90)
Smoked duck breast, semi sundried tomatoes, button mushrooms and garlic malto
Chef Wee has gone through bouts of experimentation before achieving the ideal texture of the pasta –thick with a firmer bite. Inspired by cha soba, he infuses matcha into fresh pasta that ultimately reflects a lush deep green hue. The mildly seasoned pasta goes perfectly well with the tender slices of smoked duck and button mushrooms.
I would consider this a healthier option due to the lack of sauce. The Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Parma Ham ($19.90) will appeal to those with a heavier palate – like myself – for its deliciously creamy sauce.
Smoked Duck and Foie Gras Risotto ($29.90)
Abrio rice simmered with smoked duck, porcini mushrooms, semi sundried tomatoes and foie gras finished with a drizzle of white truffle oil
Since I have an undeniable penchant for truffle oil, this dish particularly stands out for me. The assertive truffle oil brings the entire dish together beautifully.
A risotto is always a good test of the chef’s abilities, and with the Smoked Duck and Foie Gras Risotto, it is infinitely an indication of Chef Wee’s strengths. The basic requirements of a good risotto are met – creamy with some resistance of which your teeth can detect – then he takes it to another level by adding smoked duck and foie gras, whipped up with precision and care. Pieces of foie gras are lightly seared before adding to the risotto –and I certainly appreciate such intricate details.
Seafood Pie ($23.90)
Prawns, scallops, squid, fish and mussels topped with mashed potato and baked till golden brown served with a side salad
The Seafood Pie is a mouth-watering revelation and a unanimous favourite. Fresh seafood are deftly cooked and submerged in a luscious mashed potato that bonds all the ingredients together. My favourite seafood component has to be the juicy and tender fish pieces that are nowhere near to being overdone, followed by the prawns that are crunchy, bouncy and firm. The mashed potato is so comforting. The crisp golden crust is wicked. This dish is something that I will dig into unconsciously until I’ve eaten the entire dish clean. I love it!
All Day Breakfast
The All Day Breakfast menu will excite the late-risers, giving them another excuse to sleep in! YAY!
Garden French Toast ($16.90)
Stuffed ciabatta French toast with a dark chocolate and almond ganache served with candied bacon, maple syrup and fresh berries
The Garden French Toast is one unique breakfast item that will appeal to those with a sweet tooth or those who would like to begin their day on a sweet note.
Ciabatta French toast is filled with a dark chocolate and almond ganache, coated in maple syrup. Bacon is a common element in a typical English breakfast, usually served savoury. At Arbite, bacon is given a unique twist –the candied bacon actually tastes similar to bak kwa!
For a more conventional breakfast choice, I highly recommend the Eggs Benedict ($10.90). I absolutely enjoyed it the last time I had it!
For dessert, try the Gula Meleka Tiramisu ($8).
Arbite keeps its fiscal feet planted firmly on reasonably priced food without compromising on quality. Pompous establishments may be anal-retentive when it comes to dress codes, but at Arbite, you can dress down and still enjoy a quality meal.
The food is satisfactory across the board, and scores high marks for originality and creativity.
Service may not be the most professional, but it is warm and efficient; customers will leave with a smile on their faces, and return for another good meal.
Check out my previous review at:
Thanks Marc Wee for being such a wonderful host, and the NUS Food Hunt team for inviting me along for the tasting session!
Tues – Fri: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm
Sat & Sun: 11am – 10:30pm
Closed on Mondays