Carl Clarke is a one-off. An English eccentric — an original in the kitchen, and an addict of the ad hoc. He’s the latest chef to bring that street food vibe indoors. I first came across him when I was judging last year’s Chili Standoff. But the thoroughly lovable rogue is finally settling down. Well, for six months at least. Assisted by the talents of Glyn Gordon (ex-Roganic and L’Enclume), Disco Bistro is Clarke’s first solo project — and promises a longer shelf life than his previous hits such as NYC-style ‘Rock Lobsta’, Thomas Keller spoof ‘The English Launderette’ and Jubilee inspired ‘God Save the Clam’. Split between a first floor dining room and a downstairs pub bar, Disco Bistro offers two different and equally distinctive dining experiences. Upstairs the focus is simplicity, where rare breed meats and day-boat fish are cooked over wood and charcoal on a robata-style grill. Downstairs, in what still retains the feel of a ‘proper boozer’, it’s all be about the after-office drinks crowd. Expect the return of some of Carl’s signatures, such as the lobster corn dog with gooseberry ketchup, and the French-dipped burger that caused more than a stir at Daniel Young’s Burger Monday. But make sure somebody near you orders the 50-day aged Dexter and smoked stuffed bone marrow, as well as the roe deer and raspberry stout pudding, with spiced pumpkin and pickled elder. That pudding sounds like a terribly typing error. Like Carl has fallen asleep on his keyboard. But you’ll have to come and see for yourself. Like the Sex Pistols, you’ll want to be able to say to your grandkids “I was there”.
Disco Bistro @ The Rising Sun. 61 Carter Lane, London, EC4V 5DY. Opening November 19th 2012