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Acme. If you’re wondering, it’s not, despite popular belief, an Arabic word. The word is defined as “the point at which something is at its best”. This meaning was very much present when we dined at the restaurant, shown via the presentation of the dishes, the considered amount of spices used and even the decor. Acme truly did deliver.
For those of us who have fallen in love with owner Zahir Mohamed’s SoHo café Baked, you’re in for another treat here. Mohamed brings elements of his Egyptian origin to the dishes at Acme, putting a modern twist on traditional flavours and dishes enjoyed across the Middle East.
Acme offers a larger space than Baked, which is just a few doors down the block. It feels so inviting with its high ceilings, bright colours and positive vibe. The brilliant merged pyramid-camel art piece is a personal favourite!
Being from the Land of the Pharaohs myself, I was so excited to dig in. We started with what’s called “aish baladi” (translated: local bread), the national bread of Egypt, otherwise known as sourdough flatbread ($30) at Acme. This bread is an absolute staple in Egyptian households, and everyone from young to old loves it. The warm bread was presented puffed up, a balloon of pure joy – simple, yet so comforting. Once ripped open, the bread revealed its soft, cushion-like interior, which was extremely light and fluffy. It certainly took me back to happy memories of Cairo.
We opted for dips of baba ganoush ($68) and labneh ($40). The baba ganoush was spiced, squished and swirled to absolute perfection, made with just the right amount of oil and levels of creaminess and smokiness. This was by far the best baba ganoush I’ve tried in Hong Kong – I didn’t want to stop my dip-a-thon! Unfortunately, the labneh didn’t spark as much joy (it was bit too thick for my liking).
We paired these dips with the fattoush salad ($148). This rainbow bowl was a delight, filled to the brim with a mix of colours and flavours. Whilst maintaining the usual ingredients of lettuce, sumac, fried bread, radish and cucumber, Acme did what they do best: they added a twist. Surprise ingredients not often seen in your traditional fattoush include blood orange and whipped feta cheese. It was fun exploring the different flavours in this well-known dish.
On to the mains (warning: pace yourselves and come hungry). Generous in portion size, our eyes loved the lamb before we even took a bite. The lamb shawarma ($210) is a slow-cooked dish of tender, flavourful, marinated goodness. Being the carb lover I am, I would’ve liked a side of rice, but even alone, the lamb didn’t miss the mark. Whilst devouring the wonderful combination of remaining fattoush freshness along with the rich roasted lamb, I enjoyed the surprise bed of grilled aubergine on which the lamb lay.
We then dug into the harissa chicken kebab ($185), which continues Acme’s theme of punchy flavours and great cooking techniques. We’ve all been there before with dry chicken kebabs, and I’m happy to report that this kebab wasn’t dry and was very tasty indeed!
A sweet lover through and through, I had to order both the traditional and innovative desserts. First up was the traditional – baklava ($30) – which had wonderfully flaky, crisp layers, each bathed in honey, filled with walnuts and garnished with crushed pistachios. After those meaty mains, this golden delight took me from savoury to sweet in seconds.
The 15-minute wait was well worth it for the molten coffee, chocolate and cardamom cake ($75). This dreamy trio of Cs was everything. Coupled with a glass of warm golden milk ($65), I ended the meal in pure bliss.
If you’re looking for traditional Middle Eastern food with a twist, Acme should definitely be on your radar. I loved my experience here – people watching at the bar, enamoured by the chefs in action, the restaurant spilling over with customers, enjoying the delicious dishes. I’ll be back soon. Thank you, Acme, for a lovely lunch, filled with the heart-warming flavours of home.
59 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, 2885 6066, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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