With four weeks until he can reopen and brimming with energy and new ideas for his menu, 1921’s Zack Deakins can’t wait to get back into the heat of the kitchen
The family motto ‘You can stand on your head for. . . insert required amount of time here’ feels so relevant right now. It’s unbelievable to think we have been shut for nearly five months, and yet the four weeks we now have left until we open feel like they are stretched out like an eternity in front of me.
Watching those places with outside space get open has undoubtedly contributed to that. I am so jealous. Unfortunately, we do not have space for even one al fresco chair, so we have to try to be patient a little longer. Since those places fortunate enough have opened up I have been unable to relax. It’s probably the most anxious I have felt throughout all of this, I feel like I should be doing something. I am desperate to get going again, to start pushing forward again, to get out of this state of limbo.
I have got to the point I am almost creating jobs for myself that don’t strictly need doing but at least they make me feel like I am being productive. Hopefully, these little things will add up to something though.
The menu has been written for weeks. I have read a fair bit over lockdown so there are a few new things I cannot wait to try out, as well as ideas I have been mulling over for weeks, some even months, so it’s a menu I am really excited about.
Produce wise we couldn’t really ask for a more bountiful time of year, and this only adds to my enthusiasm. There is just so much good stuff available. Think English asparagus and strawberries. Morels and Jersey royals. Peas, broad beans and it won’t be long for the likes of peaches, apricots and fresh almonds. There is so much good stuff about that the menu almost writes itself.
There will, of course, be a few of our classics still on the menu – particularly on the canapés, but I have a few new ones of these to get on as well. I think of the mushroom croquette and vodka cured cod as old friends I can’t wait to see. You know the sort of friends that no matter how long you go without seeing or speaking to, you know when you see them it will be epic and as though you saw them the day before. Our crab starter will be back as well – I have had so many people mentioning it when they book for May, June and beyond, that it would be rude not to.
I also can’t wait to get some new dishes on, too. To get them out of my head and on to a plate. When I am thinking of new dishes or recipes I tend to keep them to myself. Keep them whirling around in my mind. I know the creative process is different for everyone but this is what works for me. I don’t like to let the energy out until it is going on the plate. I have had a lot of ideas over the last few months and lots of energy to put into them, so it will feel great to finally make them a reality. . . and then start thinking again!
Our first Friday and Saturday after we reopen are already fully booked, and the weeks around it are filling up fast. I feel incredibly grateful and lucky for that, so if you have already booked, thank you. If you would like to book the best way to get in touch is via our email firstname.lastname@example.org as we are still not in the office every day. We will be back manning the phones from May 11th.
Four weeks standing on my head. . .
Then whites on, knives sharpened, boards out, stoves lit and cook, cook, cook.
Zack Deakins is chef patron of 1921 Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 704870