Four little letters. An acronym which represents the brain-child of Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr, and Ed Loveday (hence the name).
What is it? A gorgeous little teal affair on the corner of prime-parking-real-estate (seriously, driving to said restaurant is strongly advised against) in the edgy, inner-city suburb of Rushcutters Bay. A mélange of quasi-fine-dining Italian flair with the chic-boho-rustic-vibe of inner-city yuppie Sydney.
After having attempted to visit every Friday for an entire month (unfortunately due to one significant other’s constant busy-ness) I racked up the dollars and headed with a good old friend by the name of Phoebe. We had a great time regardless of one significant other’s absence.
A few things though:
(1) It is very loud. Now while the music is a hipster’s wet dream it is not the place you want to frequent when you’ve got a thousand things to discuss with your dining-partner.
(2) It is very cramped. Not too sure as to how much of this is related to the fact we were seated right in front of the main kitchen/plating up/service area – but the rest of the restaurant is also quite cozy (to say the least). Don’t wear lots of clothes, it gets a bit hot. Also would not recommend sitting right next to the service area if you need to get into a hot little tête-à-tête because you’re going to be constantly distracted watching super-hottie head chef plate up, or hating yourself because you should have ordered that dish – no wait, that one, no wait! (Trust me, doesn’t matter, whatever you order, it looks fucking fab.)
(3) The crowd was really confusing?? Lots of corporate types… but also bikie hipsters with lots of tats and beards… and then two girls carrying Balenciaga and Gucci handbags. Weird. But it was 9pm on a Wednesday night. You do the math.
(4) Don’t be fooled by the price tags people, this restaurant is not cheap. Costing us a hefty 60$ a head (if we split the bill evenly) for a mid-week dinner this is nice. The menu’s highest price is cold spaghetti, lobster broth or a wholemeal goat bucatini at 22$. But be warned each “main” pasta dish is about 60g of pasta. This is a place that lives by the fine words “sharing is caring.” Which was absolutely fine for Phoebe and I.
I started with a coffee (I know, I’m sorry) because I was falling asleep, post self-medicated sedation. I was promptly told, “sorry we don’t have milk,” so found myself drinking a slippery, silky, almost sour-fun-acidic espresso that I really quite enjoyed. Plus it was served in a beautiful ceramic cup. Very rustic.
Now, everything humdrum is quality at Acme. They know how to please. They know that the little things count. That’s why the menus are printed on nice paper, that’s why the head chef re-plated our burrata entrée (or maybe that was because he saw us taking photos of everything like douches…) Acme is also super experimentalist. So we wanted to experiment- get fun things, y’know. Waitress recommended 2 entrees, one salad, 2 pasta dishes (the desserts we will get to… in time). So here we go.
Entrée 1: toast, spanner crab, mascarpone
A delectable start for my brooding stomach: spanner crab mascarpone mayonnaise plumped thick onto beautifully toasted sourdough toast. Crunch, a smoothy goodness, a fine hint of crab amongst a heavenly undertone of dill. A total winner. Would have been happy to eat this the whole night.
Entrée 2: burrata, nectarine, basil.
Phoebe’s a fiend for fresh mozzarella-type burrata, and I mean, I like cheese so I’m not going to complain. This was exactly as the menu made it out to be. A nice ball of burrata, that with a hefty little push propelled out a messy coolness (not unlike the cheese in the roasted pear shell from Sepia). Fine layers of nectarines and then a couple of basil leaves, all sitting in a rather nice fruity syrup. Not as good as the toast but still fantastic. Maybe I enjoyed this less because the sticker was still on my nectarine slices. But there you go, I said this was quasi-fine dining.
Salad: peas, pistachio.
This was heavenly. Crunchy crunchy (so crunchy I gotta say it twice) green vegetables – peas and their shells – and pistachio nuts bathed in a super fresh citrusy dressing. Delightful, a real pick-me-up. Only consideration is I thought that the pistachios were a bit lacking. But I mean I’m obsessed with the little green protein balls.
Main 1: macaroni, pig’s head, egg yolk.
The famous Sydney-style take on the Filipino dish sisig (braised pig’s offal and egg) that Phoebe had to have. The pigs head was lovely and crisp and the egg yolk added a fine almost (oxymoronic) light-richness, that really lifted the flavor of the entire dish. Little interspersed bits of red chilli did a fine job complementing the overall dish. But it’s heavy be warned. Not for the faint-hearted, like me.
Main 2: wholemeal bucatini, goat, nduja, olive.
Honestly, I think I was kind of just roped in by the word “wholemeal.” But I’m glad I got this (couldn’t decide between lasagna, pumpkin, coffee, hazelnuts – will get that next time.) This was lovely bits of pulled goat (so tender!) through an (as expected) perfectly cooked bucatini (basically spaghetti), with a kind of fresh-yet-chili sauce that’s a bit heavy on the olive when you have more than maybe 5 spoonfuls. The chilli comes from the ndjuga, a spreadable spicy Italian sausage… absolutely incredible to have the idea to use sausage as the majority filling in a sauce. Alex you would die.
Now at this point we were both comfortably well fed. Phoebe however stupidly insisted, “I saw photos of the desserts Instagram – the ice cream scoops are so small! We should get two!” And I stupidly listened. She opted for the malteser ice cream with candied bacon and I the “peach ice tea” (the beetroot sorbet with caramelized white chocolate only narrowly missed out.)
Dessert 1: Malteser ice cream, candied bacon.
Now I’m not a heavy-food person but this was addictive and amazing and just all around wow (don’t even let me think about how bad it is for you omg). I really appreciate it when restaurants go out of their way to make things edgy and creative, and the candied bacon bits (while there was way too much disproportionately to ice cream) added a kind of subtle salt that broke up the super chunky sweet flavor of the maltesers. Good do, Acme. My favorite.
Dessert 2: Peach ice tea
This was an oolong ice tea ice cream (so silky! so smooth! yet so rich I couldn’t handle it!) sitting in a bed of peach syrup and itty cubes of peach (so cute! so flavoursome! too flavousome!) topped with a fine sprinkle of matcha powder that was definitely needed. A bit too heavy for me (I know, how ironic… but the quite chunky remnants of malteser added some much-need choco to break up the milk for this here lactose-free-individual) .
The desserts here did not disappoint. Neither did the mains though. Or the entrees. I dunno, just go to Acme. It’s a great place. It won’t disappoint.
No. 60, Bayswater Road