Don't be fooled; this isn't some hybrid between the Green Lantern's lair or the City of Oz but the concept is probably just as cool. Ace Pizza reminds of a 1950's pool hall, minus the pool tables and knife fights of course...but what it lacks for in pool tables, it definitely makes up for in character. It's one of those restaurants where ambience takes precedence over actually seeing the food that you're eating, which might not be for everyone but you can't deny that this place has it's own unique style.
On a more realistic level - as much as I like a restaurant's commitment to creating a certain mood...the lighting in here has got to be every photographer's nightmare! Plonking a flash onto my hot shoe would have killed the ambiance for just about everyone else in the restaurant, so I made do when the entrees came out.
There are so many flavours and textures present in what many supermarket consumers consider to be "off cuts"; they're so understated and often, they actually carry more flavour than some of our usual primary cuts. When offal or any remote sign of nose to tail eating appears on a menu, I jump to it. The pigs head salad immediately caught my attention - having had a dish similar to this at in at one of the hallmark restaurants of nose to tail eating, Chris Badenoch's Josie Bones in Melbourne - I was already looking forward to the possibility of crispy pigs ears and flavourful pig's cheek.
Ace Pizza definitely managed to capture my interest here. The sweetness from the pig head patty went perfectly with the sharp and bitter witlof. There was a certain creaminess to the meat that went superbly with the crisp, fresh radish and what I think is some crispy slithers of pig's ears. There were so many contrasting flavours and textures on the plate that showcased how versatile and delicious using unique cuts can be!
One of Ace Pizza's most famous entrees is of course, their deep fried mac and cheese. These nuggets of golden fried, cheesy pasta speak for themselves - super crunchy on the outside and comprised of perfectly seasoned, delicious mac & cheese. A word of advice, ensure that each person gets at least one fried mac and cheese block...or better yet, have a whole platter to yourself!
PIZZA AND MAINS
When the pizzas came out, we had practically given up and broke out an entourage of iPhone flashlights - for the sake of being able to take a few photos and differentiate what we were putting in our mouths. I always get a little excited when I see kale on a menu - if you've never tried making kale chips at home, I strongly advise it...they're delicious! The Baby Blue Eyes was a little under seasoned, considering that I was expecting the house made sausage to steal the show. The pizza crust is exceptional - a beautiful, charred vessel for all toppings alike!
Potato pizzas are just such a perfect carb upon carb guilty pleasure! Pairing potato with rosemary and garlic on a pizza is just perfect but the guanciale was unfortunately too scant to be noticed. It would have been perfect if the kick of saltiness from the guanciale was more prominent on all the slices - mine was relatively bland, even on the rosemary and garlic side of things.
The Pig Town was your classic meatlovers pizza rendition - but it was the added shavings of pecorino cheese and slithers of onion that made it memorable. It's hard to differentiate distinct flavours when there is a mishmash of meats thrown over a pizza, but I would definitely visit Pig Town again any day. It's very flavourful and would go down killer with some chilli oil too!
Who knew that three ingredients on a pizza could leave such an impression? This was my first time experiencing taleggio cheese and I definitely have to add it to my fromage homage! Like potato pizzas, mushroom pizzas are a classic go-to for me but this was definitely much more well executed. The thyme and the mushrooms burst with flavour and it was well seasoned. The killer crust continues to be consistently delicious four pizzas in and it's definitely something worth commending.
The pizza that took "best of" for the night was definitely the Amalfi - you can almost taste it just by looking at it. It's amazing how this many capers were sprinkled over the pizza without throwing the balance of flavours completely out of whack! I loved how the basil came through on every slice and this is definitely the pizza that I would happily come back for. However, I do have my tiny gripe about seafood pizzas...for $23, it would have been great to have more shrimp on each slice.
Before I arrived at Ace Pizza, I sent a request out on Twitter for recommendations. The Beef Short Ribs got a consistently resounding mention and I knew why after my first bite. They were a touch away from being absolutely fall off the bone tender but the slight bite wasn't unpleasant either. The flavour was very rich and meaty; the braising liquids must be magnificent! This was perfect for sharing amongst our large forever hungry table.
Having visited Ace Pizza for desserts before - I already knew that the Soft Serve was worth conquering. This dessert plays on a big kid's nostalgia and a little one's imagination - the fact that it actually tastes good is a bonus! Squeezy bottles of chocolate sauce (which hardens over the soft serve like Ice Magic) and to die for salted caramel can be dripped over your soft serve at will. The honeycomb and chocolate crumbs are like the cherry on the icing; simplicity and all possible gimmicks aside, it's a winner.
After trying the tiramisu donut on two occasions, it unfortunately disappointed both times. It's such a great concept and much like a similar donut downfall at Miss Kitty's Saloon, the sweetness just didn't pull through. The filling was very lightly flavoured and it didn't showcase any tiramisu characteristics at all.
My favourite dessert for the night was the delectable nemesis chocolate cake. Surprising for me, as regular readers will know that I'm not a chocolate cake fan but this gluten free delight had me sold. It was rich without being overpowering and extremely moist. It's pricey indulgence at $11 for such a meagre slice but I'd recommend this over the tiramisu donut any day.
As an avid at home pizza maker, I usually prefer to make them myself instead of getting takeout or enjoying them at a restaurant. It is cheaper and you get to determine how generous you are with your servings. But when a pizza place offers up something unique like Ace Pizza does, it does make me want to come back. The pizza crust is fantastic, although not all the toppings are a winner. The deep fried mac and cheese is definitely a must have for any food enthusiast and there are many more wood grilled mains and other entrees that I have yet to try. The service was great, although when we visited, the ventilation wasn't turned on and the whole restaurant was extremely stuffy. They finally turned it on by the end of the meal - what a difference it made! Next time I look forward to just sitting back, with a forkful of deep fried mac and cheese in hand and loving the Ace Pizza darkness for what it is.