A clean design with whitewashed walls and simple furniture pieces, stepping into Arbite feels like stepping into a friend’s living room. And indeed Chef-Owner Marc Wee invites one to step into his space and share his passion for food with all. Arbite, a pun of the German word for work “Arbeit”, was one of the first few restaurants that sought to bring fine dining to the heartlands at reasonable prices.
Inspired by the philosophy that decent food need not be priced exorbitantly, Marc and his team hoped to fill this gap with Arbite. By bringing quality food comparable to those found at more upmarket establishments without the hefty price tag, Arbite has attracted quite a loyal following amongst the residents who live nearby and beyond. I was incredibly glad to discover that Arbite makes its own fresh pasta by hand daily as I swear by the qualities, taste and texture of fresh pasta.
Mushroom Soup ($4.00)
For starters, we left the recommendations to Marc. To begin with, we had a portion of mushroom soup. Made from four different mushrooms (button, shitake, eryngii and honjimeishi), the broth was light, subtly sweet and not too creamy. While the cream level is up to personal preference, I enjoyed this light mushroom soup as the sweet mushroom essence of the soup was well complemented by chunks of eryngii and honjimeishi mushrooms which added a nice texture.
Tempura Stuffed Button Mushrooms ($9.90)
Fresh button mushrooms stuffed with soft and luscious cream cheese, Jasper and I enjoyed this dish plentiful as we are big cheese lovers. Coated in a crisp and light tempura batter mixed with spring onions, it was delightful to note that the mushrooms weren’t too oil and the golden brown batter cackled with every bite. We did however feel that the mayonnaise sauce was an unnecessary addition to the dish as it overwhelmed the naturally sweet taste of the button mushrooms and stood out artificially from the other flavours.
Crab Cake ($13.90)
Usually not a big fan of fried food, the crab cake was another fried dish from Arbite that we enjoyed. Served with a unique curry cauliflower puree that was sweet with hints of curry flavour, the potato cakes were stuffed with shredded crab meat, shallots, tomatoes and coriander. With the subtle sweetness of the crabmeat punctuated with the starchy potatoes, sweet tomatoes and fragrant if not slightly pungent shallots and coriander, the flavours of this dish came together pretty nicely. While appreciating the fact that the crab cakes weren’t oily and the golden crust crisp and tasty, Jasper felt it would have been better with a slightly lower proportion of potatoes. A pretty large portion for an appetizer, I’d recommend this be shared amongst 2-3 friends lest you feel too full before the real stars of the show.
Pappardelle with Blue Cheese ($17.90)
A take on one of my favourite combinations of all time from the Blue Cheese, Rocket Leave burger from Relish and the Rocket Leaves with Shaved Pears, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad from Pete’s Place, I knew I absolutely had to try Arbite’s Pappardelle with Blue Cheese. This pasta dish was absolutely delish. Rich, creamy and cheesy, the blue cheese and cream sauce was like liquid gold for a blue cheese fan like myself.
Using a type of blue cheese that is milder and more palatable to those who aren’t large fans of the pungent taste of strong blue cheese, the dish appeals to both cheese lovers and blue cheese lovers alike. Blue cheese lovers like me can request for a stronger blue cheese taste should they wish. To add to the enjoyment, slices of caramelized pear which are sweet, juicy and refreshing bellies the rich sauce. With walnuts and juicy baby tomatoes adding sweeter and lighter flavours, I adored this dish as I am sure my cheese lover friends will. A heavy dish on all accounts, it’s recommended that the dish be shared even for hardcore cheese lovers.
Asian Spiced Lamb Shank ($21.90)
The next dish of Asian Spiced Lamb Shank reminded me very much of a childhood dish. Using nearly 20 different spices amongst them 3 varieties of ginger, Marc explained that he sought to recreate the fragrant taste of rending curry without the spiciness of it. Braised for six hours, the lamb meat was tender and fell off the bone easily with a marked absence of gamey flavour. The marinade was fragrant and a complex combination of the different spices which came together rather nicely. Served with a side of creamy and buttery mashed potatoes and grilled seasonal vegetables that were crunchy and sweet, it was tasty though we did feel it could do with just a bit more sauce as the meat was slightly dry in some parts.
My Wife’s Chocolate Cake ($8.00)
Though we were very stuffed after our mains, we decided to try the Wife’s Chocolate Cake which came highly recommended. A moist bittersweet chocolate cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop some chocolate cookie crumbs, we were very pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was. A thin layer of chocolate ganache atop a rich, moist and fluffy chocolate cake layer, the cake went well with the quality ice-cream and the chocolate cookie crumbs added extra crunch and texture. Definitely rating this as one of the best moist chocolate cakes in Singapore, it beats even veterans such as Lana’s which has rather inconsistent quality as of late.
Warm and inviting, the wait staff were attentive and the entire setup made us feel really at ease just like having a dinner at a friend’s place. Previously trained at Michaelangelo’s and Zambuca, Marc spoke to us about his vision for Arbite to be a place for friends or families to come by for a meal anytime they feel like having good food with minimal hassle. Great food and good conversation, what else can one ask for. A homegrown chef, Marc is really amicable and his passion for cooking and food is very evident in our conversation with him. Sharing with us various aspects of his job from sourcing the best quality ingredients to calibrating the tastes of the dishes, we had a great time with him.
With quality food and a lovely unassuming atmosphere for a nice casual meal at reasonable prices, I would recommend you check Arbite out. Usually heading to Pete’s Place for fresh handmade pasta, I for one am glad to have found another location for my pasta fix. Though they are some kinks here and there taste-wise, Arbite gives one a bang for their buck and at such reasonable prices, Arbite is definitely my choice over some of the other eateries in the Serangoon Gardens area. With new menu items every 6 months, Arbite manages to keep regulars coming back for its recommended dishes and add creative value with variety. Come to Arbite and be pleasantly surprised like we were.
Do drop by Arbite soon and give Marc a shoutout from us! They have all-day brunch which I am sure to be back for in the near future! With incredibly affordable set lunches starting from $11.90, Arbite also offers UOB Cardholders a 10% discount on ala-carte items and a 1-for-1 Lunch on weekday afternoons (Tuesday-Friday).
Many thanks to Marc for the kind invitation and the great hospitality!
66A Serangoon Garden Way
Contact Number: 62870430
Tuesday – Friday: 1130am – 10.30pm
Saturday – Sunday: 1100am – 10.30pm
Bryan C. and Jasper N.