Every time I see the name ACME I think of exploding bird seed and other ingenious inventions sold to villainous Warner Bros characters to finally get one over on their nemeses. But rest assured, there’s nothing even remotely deadly on the menu at this Sydney restaurant — unless you count an excess of their punchy cocktails. The lyrically-named Rushcutters Bay is the area we’re visiting, where ACME resides at the end of Bayswater Road. The name actually comes from the initials of owners Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn, Mitch Orr and Ed Loveday, although a few sticks of (hopefully inert) dynamite hanging from the ceiling suggest a fondness for the Looney Tunes company that goes beyond co-incidence.
Invention is a word that does suit ACME, for Mitch’s dishes are a quirkily original take on Chinese flavours with many Italian ingredients too (seven pasta dishes feature on the menu.) The interior is of the chiselled variety, with walls stripped back and left interestingly unfinished. What decoration there is comes in the form of dramatic light fittings, which work particularly well in the dark dining area set up for larger parties; the venue has lots of nooks for smaller groups. As for the picture of Seinfeld’s George Costanza posing in his boxers… you ask. I don’t want to know.