ACME is one of those trendy eateries which has been on my hit list for a little while now and we finally made our way over one weekend. It’s amazing how this previously quiet part of Kings Cross has really come alive with a strip of interesting new restaurants all doing their own thing, just a short stroll away from where all the action used to happen at the Cross.
There’s a real energy coursing through the restaurant as soon as you step inside, with a slick bar, dynamite pendant lighting and beats in the background to set the tone. We’re seated by the window on high stools and they’re kind enough to offer me an extra stool for my handbag and my coat.
The menu is short and sweet – a selection of bar snacks to start and a bunch of simple sounding pastas, listed according to their ingredients. We decide on the Baloney Sandwich as our appetisers and as expected, they’re nothing fancy – essentially a mini sweet potato bun with a disproportionately large slice of devon sticking out of it and a smear of house-made tomato relish which gives it just enough flavour to keep things interesting.
Baloney Sandwich, $5 each
The waitress advised us to get around 4 pasta dishes to share, as they only use around 170g worth of pasta in each dish so we went with a range of different types of pastas to make sure we got the full experience. We started with one of the more intriguing pasta dishes on the menu – a deceptively simple Linguine with just black garlic and burnt chilli for flavour, but there was plenty of both to create an addictive experience I can only describe as a gourmet version of “Mi Goreng” (a.k.a. the ultimate guilty pleasure in instant noodle form). I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of this pasta on my own, particularly because of the delicious crunchy bread crumbs on top which provided a fun textural element.
Linguine, black garlic, burnt chilli, $12
We both really enjoyed the strong fusion flavours in the Spaghetti with Korean bolognese and calamari. As strange as it sounds at first, the bolognese really works well with the spaghetti and chunks of calamari, with subtle hints of gochujang woven through the hearty tomato base.
Spaghetti, calamari, Korean bolognese, $24
After those two flavour explosions, I found the flavours in the Rye Strozzapreti (like little half-spirals) a bit more subdued. This pasta featured slivers of smoked rainbow trout scattered throughout it and finely chopped chives to balance the random bursts of sour acidity from the bits of olive.
Rye Strozzapreti, smoked rainbow trout, olive, $24
The dish we were most sceptical of, turned out to be our favourite dish of the night – the Macaroni with pig’s head and egg yolk, which you’re supposed to mix throughout the macaroni to coat it as a sauce. I don’t know what they did to the chewy yet succulent bits of pig’s head, or what else is in that macaroni apart from those 3 ingredients – but we just could not get enough of it! It is so flavoursome and the macaroni itself is satisfyingly slippery from all the yolky sauce.
Macaroni, pig’s head, egg yolk, $18
The pasta dishes at ACME are certainly not cheap considering the serving sizes (though the menu’s been updated since our visit), but they work well as shared plates and they really do showcase some pretty innovative ideas to modernise the classic pasta dishes we’re used to. The eatery itself is stylish and bang on trend, with very friendly service – it’s worth a visit just for that Macaroni alone, though not every dish is a winner here.