As an avid watcher of Looney Tunes cartoons as a child, the word Acme conjures up images of dynamite, explosions and Wile. E. Coyote. But I found out that ‘ACME’ has other meanings as well – a Greek word referring to the best of something, and also a convenient acronym of the first initials of the owners Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr, and Ed Loveday.
I was keen to see if ACME lived up to its name. It delivered on the Looney Tunes front with cool dynamite shaped light fixtures, but what of the food?
I was insistent on trying the Baloney sandwich, after seeing it appear on my instagram feed several times with people gushing about its amazing-ness. At $8 a pop (when we visited), it’s definitely not your standard devon sambo, but there’s a delicate quality to the thin sheets of mortadella sandwiched between a fluffy bun. I can’t say it blew my socks off though, and certainly didn’t meet my expectations based on the hype.
If there’s burrata on the menu, I have to order it. This one was lovingly draped with nectarine slices and basil, which served to cut through some of the richness of the cheese, but also allowed the subtle creamy flavour of the mozzarella to shine.
The beef tartare includes tiny cubes of raw beef mixed with a mildly creamy sauce, dotted with chopped walnuts and covered with witlof leaves. I liked the flavour of the raw beef with the bitter witlof, and the crunchy walnuts added some textural contrast.
I was looking forward to the pasta dishes, given Mitch Orr’s background in Italian food. We started with linguine with black garlic and burnt chilli. It sounds like a simple dish but the flavours in this packed a punch, with a nice hit of chilli and garlic and a smattering of breadcrumbs on top for crunch.
The next pasta dish was a complete contrast to the previous one. The sauce accompanying the slippery spaghetti strands had quite subtle flavours so as to not overpower the sweetness of the scallops and the tender zucchini stems and flowers. The scallops were cooked gently so that they were slightly raw in the centre and retained a juicy texture.
Another dish that I had heard lots about was the macaroni, pigs head and egg yolk, and this totally lived up to the hype. It was my favourite dish of the night, with the silky egg yolk coating each piece of pasta, and the unctuous and super tasty pig’s head meat mixed throughout. I loved the addition of chilli in this dish as well, which added a nice level of heat.
The size of the pasta dishes were pretty tiny, so we ordered another one just to fill us up a bit more. I had no idea what malloreddus was, but it turned out to be a Sardinian pasta, kind of like mini gnocchi with a nice chewy bite. This was served with sweet, juicy chunks of prawn, and a spiced, flavourful old bay seasoning.
We were tossing up between two of the desserts, and decided to just get both of them. The white miso ice cream with elderflower granita was quite interesting, with a slight savoury note in the ice cream (though it was predominately sweet and creamy), and a refreshing sweetness from the elderflower granita.
I was more interested in the malteaser ice cream and candied bacon. Because bacon! It was an interesting flavour combination – I liked the elements separately but wasn’t so sure about how they worked together. But yeah, the sweet and salty bacon was awesome.
While the food at ACME was good, I’m not sure if I would consider it the ‘best of something’. The dishes were tasty, but portions were small for the price and none of them really blew my socks off. The service we received was mostly good, but there was one particular waiter who kept telling us we needed to order more, saying that we wouldn’t have enough food even though we had stated that we’d order more if we were still hungry. This soured the experience a bit (and annoyed Sir D quite a lot!) and while overall I enjoyed the dishes that we ordered, I don’t think I’ll be back.
60 Bayswater Rd
Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011
Ph: +61 2 8068 0932
Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 6pm