Jason Allen 05/01/23
Acme Fire Cult was one of our top restaurants of 2022.
It’s one of our top restaurants this year too, just to be clear. It’s not like it dipped in quality or anything, in fact, since raising the curtain last April the place has, believe it or not, quite literally developed a cult-like following, with reviews almost as glowing as the embers they cook over.
The whole operation started as a lockdown pop up cooking over live fire in London Fields – led by chefs Andrew Clarke (Brunswick House, St Leonards) and Daniel Watkins (also St Leonards) – but has now gone permanent in a dedicated space opposite the 40FT Brewery in Dalston.
The idea is pretty simple: the brewery and the restaurant share ideas & ingredients, overlapping wherever possible to create complimentary flavours right from the outset. Beer by-products like yeast & grain go into ferments and hot sauces, while leftover spices (like ancho chillies, for instance) are incorporated into the drinks. Everywhere possible, dishes are scorched over an open flame, and doused in suds. The end result is both ingeniously creative, and notably low-waste.
Photo credit: Steve Ryan
The venue itself is a relatively sizeable 50-seater affair, with space for another 60 outside on the terrace (which, it should be noted, is covered and heated). There’s also a huge custom-made grill out there too, while inside is a small bar with space for six punters, ten beer taps, and dozens of jarred ferments & pickles.
As for the menu? Well, it’s a charcoal-fuelled procession of inventive dishes. There’s a beetroot dish with a sweet & sour dill dressing, beetroot purée, pickled blueberries and sorrel, which is first braised in a sweet by-product from their IPA brewing process, then smoked over birch wood. You’ll also find a monkfish ‘char sui’, which uses a sweet & sour molasses of fermented beetroot juice, and is then is dusted in fennel pollen, and served with roast jalapeño verde and grilled sea vegetables. And that’s just for starters, there’s plenty more – but it gives you an idea of what to expect.
There’s a fair amount to drink of course, and believe it or not, it’s not all beer. You can also score wine from a list curated by Holly Willcocks (Noble Rot), as well as cocktails ranging from classic margs & negronis, to house-recipe micheladas made with their own hot sauce. Speaking of which, you can get some of that hot sauce (and other condiments) to take away with you, should you like it enough.
After all, this isn’t a non-prophet.
NOTE: Acme Fire Cult is open Wednesday-Sunday. You can find out more, and book a table, right HERE.
Acme Fire Cult | Abbot Street Car Park, E8 3DP
Want to get to know the neighbours? Here are the best restaurants in Dalston.
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Abbot Street Car Park, Dalston, E8 3DP
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