Tuesday 15 October 2013

A for Arbite – Small Bites and Unusual Belgium Beer [CLOSED]

Jar of Duck

A for Arbite is the second restaurant / bistro opened by Chef Marc Wee and his team. A for Arbite featured a Western-Asian fusion menu which will be rotated every quarter to introduce new ingredients and showcase the creativity of the team in Arbite.

Located in Aliwal Arts Centre in Aliwal Street, this bistro provide a very casual atmosphere dining environment. Diners will have a choice of communal table for group dining or couple table for intimate setting with the special someone.

For the dinner menu, A for Arbite introduce a new concept. Each dish is designed in a small bites (or entrée) size portions. Diners are encourage try different variety of dishes in the menu paired with their unusual Belgian Craft Beers, on the tap or by the bottles. On the menu, every dish has a suggested pairing of beer, cocktails or tea. However like any other food pairing, everyone taste buds is different, so feel free to decide on your own. Based on my judgement, 4 to 5 small bites is equivalent in size to a 3-course meal.

As Chubby Botak Koala is abstaining from alcohol due to medical reasons, he brought his friend M as the beer tester. From 10 small bites that we tried, our top picks are:

Jar of Duck (duck rillettes, black truffle, foie gras, smoked duck breast, roasted grapes and crackers) – $19.50. The most of expensive dish on the menu, however the most yummyy dish in the menu. Explosion of flavour in your mouth, purely on taste base on the wonderful ingredients especially the truffle and foie gras. The most amazing thing is when you add the grape into the bite, it just turn to something different and sweet. Two thumbs up !!!

Jar of Duck

Jar of Duck (assembled) 

Tri Pepper Spaghettini (Green, pink, and black pepper pasta with swimmer crab meat, chilli, spring onion and tempura battered soft shell crab) - $10.50. A tasty, springy and chewy pasta. The pepper is very subtle. If you want me compare, the texture is similar to Kolo Mee noodle. The batter on the crab is thin and light, so it is crunchy and juicy. Watch out for the shuddered chilli that gave the kick in the dish. Delicious!!

Tri Pepper Spaghettini 
Beef Onglet Tataki (Beef Onglet or Hanger Steak, shoyu, sesame oil, onion soil and shiso) - $6. Using the not so popular cut of the beef, it is grilled to rare. The beef is tender, well seasoned but light. The mushroom flavour is quite strong, however combines well with the beef.

Beef Onglet Tataki

Lobster Thermidor (Maine lobster, crabmeat, mushrooms, cream, mustard, brandy and parmesan cheese) - $12. The closest thing that you can get to a soup here. It is robust, think, creamy and you can feel the dash of brandy. A couple of crispy bread to give a contrasting texture to the dish.

Lobster Thermidor

During the tasting, M had Palm ($12 / glass) at the start and Steenbrugge Triple ($14/glass). Palm is a light version of a beer and easy to drink. Good with something light tasting small bites. Steenbrugge Triple has a stronger flavour, it has a dark gold colour and tasted similar to stout. Goes well with more meaty small bites or those with strong flavour.


Moving on to the sweet stuff, Cookies and Cream Cheese Cake is our pick. To put it nicely, it is a de-constructed or blended version of the cake. The cream cheese mascapone and milk espuma mix is quite light, it is the opposite of the normally condensed cheese cake. The dark chocolate on it create a contrasting flavour to the mix. Seriously, you can finish up the desserts without feeling guilty.

Cookies and Cream Cheese Cake

Another dessert that I need to mention specially is the Ginseng Panna Cotta (cooked cream pudding, ginseng, wolf berries, chrysanthemum sorbet) - $7. This is either you love it or you hate it desserts. For me, it fall under the weird categories. I just can't get used to the ginseng with Panna Cotta flavour. However, I applaud their creativity.

Ginseng Panna Cotta

The beer of choice for the desserts are Lindemans Pecheresse (Peach) Beer. It is sweet and light. When we first heard of the name Lindemans, we thought it was brewed by the renowned Lindemans winery in Australia. After doing a little research, apparently this come from a Belgium brewery named Lindemans. Wow, this really surprised me. The beer itself is suitable for desserts, as it is light at 2.5% alcohol and fresh and sweet. Totally compatible for desserts or someone that like a sweet beer.

Lindemans Pecheresse (Peach) Beer

The service here is good. The service staff are attentive and knowledgeable, and don't hesitate to ask them if you are not sure what beer you want to order.

Overall, we personally like the new dining concept by A for Arbite. The modern presentation of the food is just refreshing and we definitely enjoy the different variety of small bites they served. The price is very attractive, as it is really a value for money. We'll definitely be back for more. Cheers!!

Thank you to Chef Marc Wee and A for Arbite team for the invitation to this food tasting.

Food & Drink: 8.5/10
Value: N/A
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10

A for Arbite
28 Aliwal Street
#01-01 Aliwal Arts Centre
Singapore 199918

Tel: 8321 2252
Op Hours:
Tue – Fri: 11.30 – 14.30, 18.00 – 23.00
Sat: 11.00 – 23.00
Sun: 09.00 – 21.00
Closed on Monday

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In case you are curious on what other small bites we tasted:

Braised Smoked Pork Bell (Thirty six hours braised streaky bacon, kimchi and leaf bun) - $7. A for Arbite take on the popular hokkien dish of Kong Ba Pao. The pork belly is not as tender as I imagine after 36 hours of braising, however it is tasty. The kimchi helps overcome the fattiness of the pork belly. For those who like the original version of Kong Ba Pao like myself, you miss the gravy in this dish.

Braised Smoked Pork Bell 

Salad Nicoise (Tuna loin tataki, shaved egg, potato confit, tomato and olive agar, and Cabernet Sauvignon dressing) - $6. Unlike the regular Salad Nicoise which can be very rustic, the presentation is beautiful and you can see a lot of effort was put in to create this dish. The taste is fresh, but slightly different.

Salad Nicoise
Green Tea Spaghettini (homemade Green tea pasta , smoked duck breast, wasabi tabiko and lapsang souchong broth) - $7. The homemade green tea pasta is thick and springy, more soba like. The smoke duck give a different texture to accompany the subtle broth.

Green Tea Spaghettini

Squid Ink Risotto (Prawn, Squid, mussels, crabmeat, chilli, aborio rice and deep fried halibut) - $16.50. The risotto is al dente and full of flavour. The prawns are fresh and the halibut also has a thin and light batter. A good choice for carbo if you are not filled at the end of the meal.

Green Tea Spaghettini

French Toast with G.M. Mascarpone (Brioche, coffee, brandy, gula melaka, mascarpone cream cheese and chocolate). Lightly coated wonderful brioche, topped with chocolate, almond flakes and strawberry. The mascarpone is just creamy with complex texture. The brioche is just absorb everything on it, but it just seems a bit heavy to for desserts.

French Toast with G.M. Mascarpone 

*** Cheers & Bottoms Up Mate!!! ***

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