Last Wednesday, a last minute decision to go to the Perth Glory v. Melbourne Victory FFA Cup game meant a last minute decision about where to have dinner. The game was at NIB stadium, so within a stones throw of a number of desirable eateries. But after having a quick think about it, there was really no other option but Ace Pizza, as nothing goes together quite like beer, pizza and football games. Plus I had been salivating over pictures of their deep friend mac and cheese bites since forever, so I didn’t need many excuses!
We wandered up to the door at about 5.30, and after a brief moment of confusion about not being able to use the front door, realised the entrance was down a foliage lined alleyway along the side of the restaurant.
Inside the door, we were greeted by a friendly member of staff, Tris. He asked how our days had been, but not in an off-hand, mindless sort of way that you sometimes get where you know the person in front of you is just rattling off some predetermined greeting imposed on them by their manager, but in a way that made me feel like he genuinely did care about what we had been up to. That level of service continued throughout the night, and really added to the great atmosphere at Ace.
Wandering inside to take a look around, you couldn’t help but notice that the decor was pretty pleasing to the eye. One part hipster, one part New York 90’s grunge, and one part luxury with its plush leather booths and ritzy bathrooms.
Inside was pretty dimly lit, even for the early hour that we were there. With half a mind to photos of pizza and the other half to the wonderful weather, we decided to sit outside in the alleyway. Not before spotting the piles of wood and variety of axes on display in the kitchen – the guys at Ace clearly mean business when it comes to wood fired pizza.
Once we settled down outside, the friendly Tris bought out our menus and left us to it. Having a look through the menu, we were immediately taken by so many of the non pizza options. Meatballs, BBQ ribs, red hot fried chicken necks with ranch and crispy pigs head – was there anything they couldn’t do? After getting a bit carried away with entree’s we asked what the half baked heaven on the dessert menu was, and after hearing the answer to that decided that there had better be room for the sweet stuff afterwards. As good as everything sounded, we ended up opting for the mac and cheese ($7), two pizza’s and remained intent on ordering dessert afterwards, although that was tummy space dependent. A negroni was definitely in order, as was a beer for Ollie. I don’t actually remember what was in the negroni as I asked for one to be picked for me, but I know it was the number 3 negroni and it was deliciously tart and lemony – yum!
When the mac and cheese came out, my jaw dropped and my tongue almost fell out of my mouth. Served in generous portions, the coating was crispy, salty and smelt oddly like a doughnut (no complaints here).
Cutting in to these, the crispiness gave way to cheesy, dense, al dente penne pasta. A good balance on the mac vs. cheese gradient, they weren’t absolutely oozing with cheese but the amount suited the format of the dish. The contrast between the different elements of the dish was just out of this world though – if health wasn’t an issue I think I could probably live on these forever. With a splash of the chilli oil that was on our table, I was beyond happy. Needless to say, these were finished pretty quickly, with fingers pressed against plates to wipe up the last of the crumbs.
Soon after finishing these, we were rewarded for our hard work with two pretty fine looking pizzas. We had decided on a Lincoln Lady – hot salami, anchovies, olives, san marzano tomato and mozzarella (with basil marking the anchovy free side for myself) ($21), and an Average Joe which was anything but average with bresola, provolone, rocket, mozzarella and cherry tomato ($26). The dough was some of the best I have had in a long time – soft yet incredibly stretchy, chewy on the crust and cooked to perfection.
The Lincoln Lady was reminiscent of pizza’s I remember eating in Italy – minimal toppings with quality ingredients, a simple yet stunning combination of flavours. The salami definitely had a kick to it, and extra chilli sauce was not required in this case. Plenty of cheese and sauce slid off the pizza, and I was grateful for the ample crust to wipe it off my plate with. I didn’t have the anchovies, but Ollie raved about them.
If I was forced to choose, I would have to say the Average Joe was my favourite of the two. The salty, paper thin slices of bresola almost melted in your mouth on their own, but were best enjoyed with the sharp provolone and peppery rocket. The pizza looks fairly heavy on toppings, but didn’t feel that way eating it.
We didn’t quite finish them, because we wanted to try this half baked heaven that sounded so incredible. The waitstaff popped over after we stopped eating, and reading our minds asked us if we wanted dessert and a takeaway box.
The half baked heaven came out quickly, and at $12, it was a phenomenal sugar fest with chocolate semifreddo, dulce de leche, and italian meringue. The huge chunk of chocolate semifreddo was rock hard and sinfully rich, a taste sensation amplified by the warm, fluffy meringue and thick sticky sauce. Lucky it was a large serving or there may have been more arguments over who got the last bit – as it was, both of us were stuffed by the end of it and I was able to honestly tell Ollie he could eat the rest of it.
Well and truly fed, we paid up and rolled on out of Ace for the short walk down to NIB stadium for the Glory game. Our night at Ace was incredibly satisfying in every way – great service, amazing food, generous portions and reasonable prices. The Glory game was exciting as well, with a win in extra time, so a fantastic night all round! Get yourselves down to Ace Pizza ASAP if you haven’t already been – I know I will be back to tick a few more things off the non-pizza side of the menu, and to try the famous soft serve.