Never shying away from innovation, the menu at pasta joint ACME is constantly changing. Head chef and co-owner Mitch Orr says it boils down to seasonality, boredom, and necessity, but above all it’s about having fun. And fun is what you get the second you step through the door. Co-owner Cam Fairbairn flits around with the friendliest face, hip hop is on repeat, and Jatz crackers emerge from the kitchen.
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Housemade pasta is in the limelight, but not as you know it. The first ever dish Orr put down on the menu – and to this day the one dish I’ll always order – is the macaroni with pig’s head and chilli. Based on Filipino sisig, it’s one of the few dishes that has remained unchanged until now.
“I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney across the road from a Filipino family – those flavour profiles… play a big part in what I cook today,” Orr explains.
Whole pig’s heads are brined for 4-5 hours, then braised overnight in a masterstock of shiraz vinegar, tamari, and sugar. The meat from the heads is picked off, chopped, and sauteed until crispy. The macaroni is then tossed in a sauce of garlic, eschallots, chilli, braising liquid, butter, lemon juice, and crispy pig’s head. A raw egg sits atop the macaroni waiting to be mixed through at the table. Amazing. Full stop.
ACME might be too cool for school for some, but it’s an all-time fave in my books.
Find it here: ACME, 60 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney.