Andrew Clarke and Daniel Watkins' Acme Fire Cult finds permanent home in Dalston

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Picture credit: Steve Ryan
Picture credit: Steve Ryan

Related tags Andrew Clarke Restaurant Chef Barbecue Vegetables

Former St Leonards chefs Andrew Clarke and Daniel Watkins have found a permanent home for their vegetable-focused barbecue concept Acme Fire Cult at 40FT Brewery in London's Dalston.

Launching on 1 April, the Acme Fire Cult restaurant will be opposite the 40FT Brewery tap room, seating 50 covers inside and 60 outside on the covered and heated terrace.

A large custom-made grill and smoker will stand in the covered yard, while inside the space will be pared back and dark with industrial elements.

Deriving from the Greek word akmē (the point at which something is at its best or most highly developed), Acme Fire Cult began life in the spring of 2021 with Clarke and Watkins running a successful summer residency at London Fields Courtyard in Hackney.

Clarke and Watkins have collaborated with 40FT Brewery co-founder Steve Ryan for the move to Dalston, which is described as 'an evolution' of the residency.

“Steve Ryan and I have been friends for a long time and I’ve previously cooked at the brewery as a guest chef,” explains Clarke.

“Daniel and I had been looking for a space for Acme in Hackney, and when the space at the yard facing 40FT came up, we had to seize it. The potential for the space is huge, and we want special events and guest chef dinners to become a big part of the offering.”

Vegetables will be at the heart on the regularly-changing menu, alongside rare and native breed meat from regenerative farms such as Lyon Hill Farm and Swaledale Butchers; with dayboat fish from sustainable suppliers such as Fin & Flounder and Bethnal Green Fish in supporting roles.

Beer brewing by-products, meanwhile, will be used to make ferments and sauces, such as their Acme ‘Marmite’, made from leftover beer yeast; ancho hot sauce made with beer soaked chillies; and beer molasses made by reducing down the ‘first runnings’ to be drizzled on desserts.

Picture credit: Steve Ryan

Small plates set to feature at launch include grilled leeks and pistachio romesco; and beetroots cooked in the ‘first runnings’ of 40FT Brewery Sunset Hazy IPA and served with sweet and sour dill dressing, beetroot purée, pickled blueberries and sorrel.

There will also be a selection of flatbreads available, such as coal-roasted celeriac with mushroom-kelp XO, coco bean miso and salsa verde made with foraged mushrooms and hand gathered seaweed; Dorset crab with bone marrow, jalapeño verde and salted cabbage; and smoked shortrib glazed with a molasses made from 40FT Eccles Cake Stout and served with mustard greens, beef fat crema and ancho koij.

Larger plates, meanwhile, include char siu monkfish; and herb-fed chicken with vadouvan butter, Tropea onion and crème fraiche.

There will also be a reduced menu of small plates and flatbreads served at the 40FT Brewery taproom across the yard, which will also be available to takeaway.

The restaurant will have 10 beer taps with special edition beers brewed each month by 40FT to pair with the menu, with ingredients that will later be used in cooking. In addition, there will be a concise wine list from Holly Willcocks (ex Noble Rot, now co-founder of Half Cut Market, Camden) and a cocktail menu featuring beer-based cocktails.

“We’re really excited to be working with Steve and 40FT,” continues Clarke.

“The synergy of the beer brewing process and menu creation is central to what we’re doing at Acme and encompasses all aspects of the menu. We can’t wait for people to try it.”

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