Acme Fire Cult describes itself as a a ‘live fire concept’ restaurant. If you’re currently employed by the London Fire Brigade or have partaken in a little hobby we like to call Listening To Bleak Podcasts, the name alone might fill you with fear. Don’t be scared. Because Acme Fire Cult is in fact the actualisation of any Londoner’s dream summer’s day.
This is a restaurant where you’ll find hefty slabs of tender Tamworth pork alongside a tangy fermented squash hummus that instantly ranks on our list of the best vegetarian dishes in London. There is some perfectly pleasant indoor seating but really you want to be out on the heated and covered terrace. On the long picnic benches, alcohol-free pints flow between mates bantering while strong negronis are sipped over sweet nothings on the next table along. Acme Fire Cult is conveniently housed inside Dalston’s 40FT Brewery, and the mood on the terrace is like taking a bubble bath in 60 pints of IPA. It toes that line between chilled-out and upbeat party effortlessly, complete with the realisation that your hair smells like it’s been slow-roasted in a volcano.
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Two-parts sunshine satisfaction and one-part fancy surprise, the menu here reinvents the barbecue crowd-pleaser. It’s divided into stuff to share, stuff you’ll want to hog, and limited edition specials. The small plates rotate around expert creative sauces from a pumpkin seed pistou that somehow manages to give a hispi cabbage star quality, to a mushroom kelp situation where the XO lands like a kiss. The larger plates include whole seasonal fish, quality meat smoked to perfection on the terrace barbecue, and summer-ready spicy verdes.
This spot is at its best on those sweltering days when eating coal-roasted celeriac for lunch just makes sense and during long summer nights that begin with a debate over the marmite butter sourdough and end with tipsy sentimental cuddles. Treat the terrace barbecue as your campfire, the margaritas as the ultimate hot-weather birthday toast enabler, and the homemade dog biscuits as an excuse for your mate to bring their schnauzer along to your catch-up. This is one cult you’re going to want to be a part of.
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Marmite Butter Sourdough
You either love it or you… love it. If you’re not a Marmite fan, we ask you to open up your heart to yeast extract and embrace this cheesy starter. The crunchy crust of the sourdough combined with that creamy butter is an instant win.
Fermented Squash Hummus
This is basically a macadamia-sponsored crunch party. Unlike any hummus we’ve tried before, the fermentation gives it a proper little kick that balances out the creaminess and the sweetness of the squash. You’ll get it to share and then quite quickly realise you keep batting your dining companion’s hand away from the flatbread. Oops, oh well.
Acme Fire Cult clearly knows their way around some sesame seeds because the tahini here is 10/10. Pair it with some classic spuds and chilli oil and you’ve got yourself a party.
Spoiler alert: the writer of this review is from Dorset so this is not their first rodeo with the best of the south. The added bone marrow though—inspired. One of the most sensual couplings since Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling procreated. The jalapeño verde stops any richness overload in its tracks and once again, shoutout to that sourdough.
Tamworth Pork Chop
You’ll never look at your mate’s barbecue offerings the same after this and that’s OK. Friendship is lovely and all but have you tried Acme Fire Cult’s mojo rojo? A true testament to the power of paprika, chilli, and garlic. A match made in meat heaven.