Written with passion by Caleb Ho
As I stand there, on the landing of the stairs over-looking the rows of tables beneath, I get the feeling I’m in Chicago… or perhaps New York. The dark wired fences and glass wonderfully weave in and out over wooden panels, creating a scene that’s familiar of Hollywood movies.
Tonight, the three of us, Jason, C.K. and I are treating ourselves to a meal at this bustling joint where the chatter is constant amidst soft jazz in the background. The dim lights hover above and cast a dreamy light into the space we inhabit. It’s a cool place to chill with friends where the food will surely find its way into the conversation – if not for the uniqueness, then the quirkiness of the blend.
We soaked in the atmosphere with our first taste of what Acme had to offer – a plentiful bowl of Rustic Vegetable Soup (RM23) and plentiful indeed with chickpea, barley, zucchini, mushroom, carrot, peppers, celery and chilli pesto making this a thick, flavourful experience. If you like your soup with chunky bits, then this is it.
Our two starters were in the form of Root Vegetable Truffled Fries (RM13) and Salt Egg Yolk Chicken Strips (RM17). The former was a variety comprising fried sticks of sweet potato, lotus root and yam drizzled lightly with truffle oil. Being very lightly salted, the taste depends very much on the natural sweetness of the ingredients. We found most of it rather bland although some portions provided that bit of flavour. The latter is something you can find in Chinese restaurants, only they usually do it with prawn or squid. Acme’s version, using strips of fried chicken breast are tender enough although I must say, it’s best to stick with seafood on this one.
Next up was the adventurous bit in me. The three of us went for the Sambal Hebi Aglio Olio Spaghetti (RM35) as one of our mains. The thick sambal sauce permeates every bit of pasta, prawns and asparagus. Be warned though – this one’s dynamite! (like the Acme dynamites on Road Runner. Beep! Beep!) It takes a while getting used to and if you’re every bit the spice lover, you’ll love this. However, the sambal overpowers everything on the dish and with so much of it, there’s really nothing left in your mouth but the taste of sambal. We found this dish ambitious and interesting but it was too one-dimensional for my liking.
Our other main dish was the Grilled Jumbo Hot Dog (RM25). As with all the dishes we sampled today, it was recommended to us. The dish does live up to its name because it’s huge! Acme’s bread is made in-house which is nice but it could do with some butter. Giving it a slight toast would also add a different texture. But the real let-down is the chicken sausage. I would expect more than standard fare but this was pretty regular. The only saving grace was the caramelized onions and mustard sauce which went well together.
Having gone through a roller-coaster ride in terms of food experience this evening, the three of us were really hoping for a good end to our meal and the Chempedak Cake did not disappoint. At RM15 a slice, this beautiful creation gave a wonderful end to our evening with its perfectly balanced sweetness. At times, the pandan (that’s screwpine leaves for you English folk) flavours infused with thin layers of chempedak cream were so comforting, it brought back memories of the simple yet satisfying pandan chiffon cake my mum used to make. Acme’s offering is of course on a different level with textures that are not overly fluffy or dense.
If you’re looking for a culinary adventure that will at times shock you with its uniqueness or quirkiness, drop by Acme for a bit. However, I’d much rather recommend that you drop by for some good coffee, cake and casual conversation because this place has an ambience that’s timeless. If the food doesn’t get you hooked, the energy and beauty of a place that’s wonderfully familiar yet foreign surely will.
Acme Bar and Coffee
Unit G1, The Troika,
Persiaran KLCC, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2162 2288
11:00am-12:00am (Mon – Thurs)
Price Range: RM51 - 100
Ambience: Sometimes, it feels like you’re chilling in Chicago, sometimes, Manhattan yet other times, you feel perfectly at home. The dim lighting coupled with soft jazz sets up your evening nicely for catching up over coffee and cake.
Pros: It’s easy enough to find, with ample parking available on most nights. Located in a quiet part of the city yet just a stone’s throw from KLCC, it provides a great place for chilling, with the option of indoors or outdoors.
Cons: Some of the food items on the menu will dazzle you but some might disappoint, especially if you’re the discerning kind.
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