Acme: Mitch Orr's new Sydney restaurant

Author: Pat Nourse
Photography: Ben Dearnley

Hold onto your twirling forks, spaghetti fans, Mitch Orr is back heading a kitchen and rolling dough for your sensual pleasure. Orr, best known for his Italianate work at 121BC, his pasta dégustation cameos at Buzo, and his less Italianate work as the co-head chef of Duke Bistro, is one of the letters making up Acme, a new eatery at the Rushcutters Bay end of Bayswater Road. His co-owners are Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn and Ed Loveday. Loveday and Emerson are co-owners of Darlinghurst bar The Passage, where Fairbairn (latterly seen working the floor at Pinbone) also used to work.

Acme isn't going to be explicitly Italian, but fresh pasta will form the heart of its menu, with six or eight pasta dishes - linguine with black garlic and burnt chilli, squid ink strozzapreti with octopus and chrysanthemum, and macaroni with pig's head and egg yolk, among them - bookended by snacks ("a bit like what we were doing at Duke and 121") such as fried globe artichoke with chamomile and baloney sandwiches, and a couple of desserts. "The pastas won't be traditional - they'll be more like the stuff I was doing for the dégustations at Buzo." More Orr-ecchiette than orecchiette, if you will.

Orr is adamant that the main course prices will stay low - around the $20-mark. "In Sydney if you want to get a great bowl of pasta, most of the time you have to go somewhere like Ormeggio or Pilu," he says. "Those places are really great, but sometimes you don't want to pay $35 and go in for all the fine-dining - sometimes you just want a really good bowl of spaghetti."

The plan for Acme is for it to be more like a Chinatown noodle bar that serves pasta than an Italian restaurant. "We just want it to be a nice little neighbourhood joint."

Orr says that his smoked eel-enriched variation on the theme of carbonara won't feature on the opening menu ("I've got the goat ragù on, though"), members of the dish's cult following needn't entirely give up hope. "I think I'll probably work through the whole repertoire eventually."

The 60-seat eatery is set to open to the public in October.

Acme, 60 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay, NSW, (02) 8068 0932

Looking for more Sydney dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Sydney.

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