Food Review: A for Arbite at 28 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199918

I'm glad to introduce to you guys a new eating place near Bugis area which is very good! I was invited by the kind folks of the original Arbite to try out their new branch at Aliwal Street, called A for Arbite.

In case you are wondering, "arbite" is actually German for "work". Their philosophy is in fact - Work Hard, Live Well.

I have previously blogged about brunch, and dinner at the Serangoon Gardens branch.

What I really liked about the place is the decor. Being in the Aliwal Arts Centre, it was themed as a school-room to fit into the place. The familiar legos carry on from the original branch at Serangoon Gardens.

Back to school! Very spacious and roomy, with no smell at all. That is my favorite - proper ventilation to a restaurant is very important but often neglected. It always bother me if I left smelling like what I just ate.

We had some specialty Gryphon tea to start. This was the Mango and Mangosteen Tea ($6) and very fragrant and good. You can't get this flavour outside!

Next up, some beer samplers! One of the key difference between this branch and the original is the emphasis on beer pairings. As a wine/beer/coffee idiot, the tasting notes that comes with the sampler was really helpful.

Here's my friend Steph aka stooffi who was dining with me. Look at her "WAH beer!" face. Lol!

Anyway, we were treated to an extravaganza of food thanks to Marc. It gave me a really good idea of the menu. When I asked him what is the difference between this and Arbite, he mentioned that there is more care taken to plate the food, the ingredients are slightly more upclass, there is more variety and of course the prices might be slightly higher. 

However I find that it is still very good value for money for the food you are getting!

The first dish to try is one of my favorites among the appetizers. The Kueh Pie Tee ($7.90) small bites is a modern take on a traditional dish - the filling is made with Japanese curried pulled chicken and you can add in lettuce, chopped nuts and apples julienne. The Japanese curried pulled chicken was so yummy, I can eat it straight, though the "container" is very crispy and enjoyable.

The Fingerling Truffle Potato ($10.90) was exciting - it's rough cut potato, tossed with truffle oil. Like wet fries, very satisfying. It wasn't exactly super mind-blowing though.

The next appetizer was the Beef Onglet Tataki ($13.90) which should definitely be consumed immediately because it does not do well when cold. The beef was a little chewy and raw as well. I would say if there's a toss up between this and another dish, choose the other.

The favorite of the night, and among the appetizers is the next dish. MUST TRY! It's the Scotched Egg ($7.90) which is actually a soft poached egg wrapped with minced bacon and pork, breaded and deep fried served with yuzu and wasabi hollandaise. Doesn't the ingredients sound exciting already? Because it tastes AMAZING. 

It is poached, so the egg yolk oozes out. If you are a fan of poached eggs and all the unhealthy and sinful but so good fringe ingredients, this is perfect.

The last dish among the Small Bites is the Eggs En Cocotte ($14.90), which is probably a tie for second place with the Kueh Pie Tee as my favorite appetizier. Made with foie gras pâté, spinach and eggs layered in a casserole and baked, served with croutons. 

The foie gras filling was generous, not too overwhelming and just very enjoyable when coated with the yolk of the egg.

And then we get to the mains! The carbs superstar here is the Smoked Duck and Porcini Fettuccine ($25.90) with slices of smoked duck breast, porcini mushrooms and baby spinach in a cream sauce. I really liked Arbite's pastas (their green tea fettucine at the Serangoon branch still remains one of my fav pastas of all time) and this smoked duck fettucine is no different. The pasta's al dente and the sauce is not too heavy so as to nicely complement the textures of the pasta and the saltish smoked duck, which was tender and juicy.

The next dish was the mini beef truffle burgers ($15.90) which turned out unfortunately to be the least liked dish of the night for me. It looked really cute and enticing with the mini pan fried quail egg on top, but sad to say I find the beef too dry and the truffle infusion (as written on the menu) non-existent. The  kriek onion jam did add some flavour to the meat but didn't do much to help with the texture. I did feedback this to Marc though and we both agreed that it is a personal preference thing -- some people actually like their burgers slightly on the drier side. 

Lastly for desserts! The very innovative and exquisite dishes really surprised me. First there was Edith's Mess ($9) which was made with crumbled meringue, fresh berries and bananas folded in whipped cream. It was named after Marc's daughter, Edith of course, which is so sweet. The dish was light, sweet and fresh. Great for a palate cleanser after all the sinfulness.

And finally, the highlight of the desserts section was the off-the-menu specialty item which is available at the Gardens branch, but on special request at Aliwal's. It is the Ginseng Panna Cotta ($10) that is made with cream infused with ginseng and wolfberries served with a honey and chrysanthemum sorbet and yuzu foam. It was super interesting. Initially we were apprehensive to ginseng, but the combination of the sweet and refreshing chrysanthemum sorbet and tart yuzu foam complemented the healthy and fragrant ginseng taste. YOU MUST TRY IT to know it. Really. It's not that weird.

There is currently a UOB 1-for-1 lunch set deal which is really value for money because it is 

Soup of the Day + Salad + 
Choice Of Smoked Salmon tossed with spinach tagliatelle in a light cream sauce 
OR Grilled Ribeye with condiments of the day and a black pepper sauce 
OR Roasted half spring chicken marinated in Cajun spices with condiments of the day 
+ Choice of Coffee, Tea or Soft Drink for $30+ only! Means $15+ per person!

Overall I must recommend A for Arbite if you are looking for good food, great space and little surprises to your meal. Thanks to Marc for the invite and hosting us to the very excellent dinner!
A for Arbite
28 Aliwal Street #01-01 Singapore 199928
Tel: 83212252
Tue - Fri: 11:30 - 23:00, Sat: 11:00 - 23:00, Sun: 09:00 - 21:00 

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