A return to a fast favourite - Ace Pizza, Highgate
When it comes to restaurant success worth celebrating, the team behind Beaufort Street's haunts, Cantina 663, El Publico, Ace Pizza and Mary Street Bakery have worked out the winning formula. Since Jeremy's favourite eatery in Perth is El Publico, and mine is Cantina, I knew before I ever went to Ace Pizza that it would be phenomenal.
And it was.
But since I first went there with my best friend Vee, I've been meaning to take Jeremy there to try it out. So when it came round that he had a random Friday night off from teaching kung fu, we decided to book dinner at Ace Pizza so he could finally see if the hype that I've been letting off was worth it.
We arrive for our booking at 6.30pm and already the place is cranking. The lights are low, the green neon sign on the wall an eerie green. The first thing he notices bout this place is just how funky the layout is. Very urban and warehouseque. The staff are friendly and bubbly, all dressed in t-shirts that have the letters A, C or E.
As we sit down we're given tap water automatically, before we each order a Gypsy Pear Cider. They come out frosty, icy cold and refreshing. What a great way to start our weekend!
The menu is extremely interesting; a section of items from the kitchen, a section of wood grilled dishes and a list of pizzas. It all sounds phenomenal, but obviously we need to make some choices so we go about scanning what's on offer.
We decide to order a dish from each of the menu sections, starting off with the wood grilled Black Pudding with Pickled Quince ($16).
It comes out as two thick slab slices of black pudding, which are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The texture is wonderful, the flavour moorish. It's decadent but comforting, and since both Jeremy and I love black pudding, we're happily munching away.
The richness of the meat is offset by the fresh salad of pickled quince, parsley, onion and hazelnuts. While I'm normally not a huge fan of too much parsley, in this salad it's really at home as it contends with the other punchy flavours on the plate. We're pretty devastated when we get to the end of the dish!
Since the last time I ate at Ace Pizza I didn't actually try any of the pizzas, I'm glad that Jeremy's keen to sample their namesake fare on this occasion. There's actually a few that sound amazing, but we both love mushrooms and choose the Fungo Magico ($18) accordingly.
A thin pizza with crunchy crust, covered with mushroom, taleggio and thyme. The pizza comes out looking amazing, the scent of the cheese pungent and mouth-watering. I love the slightly fruity taste that comes with it which really suits the mushrooms.
Jeremy takes his first bite and is silent as he chews away thoughtfully. It's not until he's actually finished that first slice that he grins widely, proclaiming this as literally the best piece of pizza he's ever eaten. And while it's a bold statement, I have to say I definitely consider this in my top 3 ever. It's delicious, well seasoned and balanced in the flavours. I love the meatiness of the mushrooms and the way the addition of thyme brings out the earthiness of them.
Think fresh, supple sheets of lasagne pasta topped with melt in your mouth beef that's fatty, flavoursome and oh so comforting. The sauce is rich, the cheesy bechamel topping gooey and delicious.
This is the sort of dish that makes me fall in love with food all over again. I know saying that probably makes you roll your eyes and think I'm being melodramatic, but it's actually the truth. It's a truly delicious menu item that I highly recommend to anyone eating at Ace Pizza. And while I've hyped it up, I was so pleased to see that Jeremy also thought it was the best item of the night.
When the very last crumb of food is wiped clean, we're both completely sated and marvelling at the yummy dishes we've eaten. I'm pleased to note that the service doesn't decline at any point, with our plates quickly cleared and the dessert menus offered. They're extremely on the ball here, with the staff unobtrusive but so friendly and approachable. In a city with so many restaurants, great service really can make a big difference - and this place really does deliver on the food and service sides.
There's only three dessert options on the menu to choose from - the Tiramisu Donut ($5), the Nemesis Chocolate Cake ($11) and the Ace Soft Serve ($7). I know straight away that I'm going to order the soft serve after seeing photos of it on other food blogs, but Jeremy finds himself tossing up between the two other options.
Eventually he chooses the Tiramisu Donut since it sounds so different to other desserts elsewhere. And while I'm not a coffee flavour person, I can see how tempting it is. Golden on the outside and cream coloured on the inside, it's sweet and crunchy but light and airy at the same time. There's a coffee flavoured creamy filling, which shows that tiramisu side to the dish, and as Jeremy cuts into it, it all spills out onto the plate.
It's a sweet, and really well priced dessert!
My soft serve dessert comes out with a mountain of ice cream in one cup, with biscotti in another and honeycomb shards in the last. There's also two squeezy bottles on the side for me to add liberally to my own liking - one that's chocolate ice magic, and the other (cue excitement) salted caramel. YUM.
The soft serve is dreamy and light, the salted caramel an excellent mix of salt, sweet and bitter. I love the biscotti as an addition to sprinkle over the top which is crunchy, as is the airy honeycomb.
I know I'm out of control but I end up pouring way too much salted caramel on top of the ice cream - and loving it. I adore salted caramel and feel my mouth actually watering from the first bite. It's so, so, so good. I actually consider momentarily to have a klepto moment and steal the caramel bottle... but obviously I don't, though it is a tempting thought!
Ace soft serve
Our dinner at Ace Pizza was, as expected after my first trip there, amazing. There's a playfulness to the food - which is of a great quality, with wonderful ingredients and flavours. I can see us coming back here time and time again to try the dishes they have available (such as the pigs head or occy salad) - so long as we always order the lasagne too.