Aces has been a fixture at the Central Market for as long as I can remember. It always seemed to me like a no-nonsense place to grab a drink and a quick bite as we watched the busy market crowd rush by.
Enzo Fantasia and his son Andrew have re-launched the iconic Central Market establishment with a renovation of both the fit-out and the menu. Andrew takes over the reins from Enzo this year and he's completely reinvented the restaurant side of the business with James Hillier (House of Organics and Golden Boy) and other Adelaide restaurant luminaries. Africola's Duncan Welgemoed is consulting as executive chef and his Italian menu is on point.
The parquetry floor has been lovingly restored and the décor has been completely redesigned, yet it still feels like the old Aces. The designers have managed to update the space for the new century and retained a sense of the old.
The dimly lit booth seating at the back of the restaurant is framed by pictures of family, food and fame. Coupled with the low lighting and walls filled with art and wine, it evokes a more intimate feel than before and somehow they've even managed to fit a larger pizza oven into the kitchen.
The menu has been overhauled but classics still feature heavily alongside new school takes. There's pizza, we'll get to that in a sec. There's classic pasta and salads, salumi and cheese plates, 'hero' sandwiches, veal or chicken cotoletta and steak.
On the night we visited we tried the 'Dolce Pepperoni' and Margherita pizzas, a couple of delicious classic pastas, salumi and mozzarella sticks (the Sunday sauce is sublime). I'd be heading in to try the new school pizzas like 'Cool Hand Zuke' and 'Tropic Thunder' very soon if I were you.
The range of beers and wines is huge so there's bound to be something for everyone. From sangiovese and shiraz to Birra Moretti and Pirate Life, the mind boggles. Of course, Aces is serious about coffee... they've been around the Central Market for a while. Those who know Aces will know about the range of drinks. It's even better now.
The focus is still on good honest restaurant-quality food served quickly. The kitchen has specifically been updated so they can serve restaurant quality meals pronto. They reckon their pizzas can be cooked in under four minutes and want everyone to know the quick service Aces is famous for is better than ever.