Brunch isn’t high on my to-do list because I generally don’t eat before noon. I get a lot of blank faces when I tell people that I don’t eat breakfast. I also get a lot of ‘But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!’ exclamations thrown my way. Not to me, it isn’t. I never wake up hungry and I remain faithful to a scientifically proven (ha, not) diet of only eating when I’m actually hungry. This means that my first meal of the day is often somewhere between 12 and 2pm. I can appreciate that others want to have breakfast like a king, but it just doesn’t make sense to me to eat when I’m not hungry just because it’s what’s considered ‘normal’. You do you, I’ll do me.
Anyway, I don’t have an aversion to brunch per se, but I’m much more interested in going out for dinner. So the cafe scene isn’t as appealing to me as the restaurant world. Enter restaurant-style brunch like Pinbone, Lucky Suzie or more recently ACME, and I’m suddenly very, very interested. I like the unexpected way that restaurants approach breakfast. It’s never just avo on toast. My theory about brunch is that if you can make it at home it’s probably not worth going to a cafe for.
A few weeks ago ACME introduced a four-course se brunch menu for $50 that changes all the time. I’ve booked our brunch for 11am, but I wake up at 10.19am with a jolt, having forgotten to set an alarm the night before. Miraculously, I still make it to the Rushcutters Bay restaurant only seven minutes late (like the true German I am, I hate being late – it makes me anxious).
First up is cubes of watermelon toppled over a black sesame sauce, garnished with shreds of shiso and scattered with white sesame seeds. I’m into the nutty and sweet flavors, kicking off the meal with a light, fresh shared bowl. Just like the dinner menu, Asian nuances are thrown into dishes with playfulness.
Second on the list is the Filo sausage and egg sanga, exploding with yolk porn. Only the first course was shared, so don’t worry – you’ll get your own sammich here. In a hilarious way, it’s kind of like a fancied up version of a sausage and egg McMuffin, though it yields quite a bit of sweetness. I’d expect no less from the dude who has managed to make baloney sandwiches and jatz snacks current.
While all other courses are set, the third (and largest) is your opportunity to choose from three mains – today it’s roasted carrots, abalone congee or fried chicken & ube waffle. It’s to nobody’s surprise that I select the vegetarian dish of roasted carrots, whipped ricotta, and almonds. I have no regrets – it delivers with sweet, nutty, soft, crunchy, creamy, and salty elements.
The fried chicken on ube waffle with maple syrup is on the super sweet side, but matching each vividly purple bite of the waffle with a chunk of chicken takes you away from cloyingly sweet territory. There’s a funky, fermented kind of flavor going on with the purple yam waffle as well.
A dainty slice of pear tarte fine with a dollop of creme diplomat brings brunch to a satisfying close.
I thought a four-course brunch would have me unbuttoning the top of my jeans mid-meal, but the portion sizes aren’t too OTT, plus some of the lighter dishes like the watermelon balance out the experience. Note that there’s coffee available, but it’s strictly black: espresso, long blacks, pour-overs, and cold drip.
If you’re interested in finding out about what ACME is cooking up at dinner time, check out this blog post.
60 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay
Dinner Tue-Sat from 6pm
Brunch Sat 11am-2.30pm