Smudge Eats: ACME

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, September 2015]

Profile: ACME, Sydney

- by Camilla Sampson

ACME: conjured up as an acronym of the owner’s first names, four friends have come together to share their pasta-infused foodie dreams.

Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr and Ed Loveday weren’t content with Sydney’s offerings of hand-made pasta and food that wouldn’t leave your pockets reeling. So they did what any group of mates would do and opened a place that offered exactly what they were after: a neighbourhood restaurant with food they’d want to eat, drinks they’d like to drink and service they’d like to receive. As winner of Time Out’s Restaurant of the Year for 2015, it appears they’ve surpassed even their own expectations!

Mitch had a background in cooking with fresh pasta and experimenting with flavour combinations, and the other boys had valuable experience in running bars and clubs. Together with ACME’s Sommelier, Gavin Wright the team have created the perfect formula for somewhere you’ll want to return to over and over again.

ACME’s vibe is laid back, unpretentious and a lot of fun, which has definitely lent a hand to their rapidly growing popularity. Designed by Sydney architect duo Luchetti Krelle, the light blue exterior is eye catching and the exposed brick walls give it a rustic, authentic feel. The contrasting, neon sign above the door cheerily reflects ACME’s interest in mixing it up.

The kitchen team focus on produce from “lots of small guys around town, who have great relationships with the farmers and gourmet produce”. So you know what you’re getting isn’t mass-produced, tends to be local and has that something special about it. Drinks come in from top distributors in the country, with Black Market Sake a regular supplier.

The menu looks simple but it’s the flavour combinations and fresh ingredients that make ACME stand out. It is all designed to share, so the more of you are there the more you can order. Start with a selection of smaller plates including beetroot with macadamia butter and coffee, beef tartare with prawn and burnt onion, and blood orange with pomelo and mascarpone. Then move onto a couple of the larger hand-made pastas such as fusilli topped with calamari and Korean bolognese, macaroni with pig’s head and egg yolk, and the linguini with black garlic and burnt chilli. If you’ve got room there’s a select choice of creative desserts including salted caramel swirl with cookie and ice magic, and coconut rice cream with white chocolate.

The best thing about ACME from the team’s point of view is, well, the team. They’ve had almost no staff turnover since opening, it’s just a group of friends who regularly hang out and have a laugh. And a great crew transcends into stellar service, leaving ACME the perfect place to eat and enjoy a delicious meal with a bunch of mates.

FoodCamilla Sampson