Scott Hallsworth pop-up finds perm home

Freak Scene, the pan-Asian pop-up by chef Scott Hallsworth and co-founder Phar Shaweewan that took Clerkenwell by storm last year, finds a permanent home in London’s Soho, opening on Thursday 29 March.

Following Scott’s departure from Kurobuta, which he founded, Hallsworth began Freak Scene as a pop-up in July, inspired by his experience in Japanese, Singaporean and Malay cooking.

Fast forward to March 2018, and Freak Scene is set to shake up Soho with its ‘curious Asian plates’, at a premises previously occupied by Barrafina. The new site will open at 54 Frith Street, and Hallsworth, who was previously Head Chef at Nobu, will take inspiration from bustling Singaporean hawker centres with his South East Asian-inspired menu.

Several of Hallsworth’s signature Freak Scene dishes will make the move from Clerkenwell to Soho, including Miso-grilled black cod tacos with sushi rice and scorched red chilli; Chilli crab and avocado wonton bombs; Chicken-fried chicken with peanut soy and cucumber pickles; and a Honey-hoisin grilled pork belly, mussels and chilli jam ssam wrap.

New additions to the menu include a Foie gras croissant with star anise jus and Crispy nori cone with tea-smoked beef fillet, pickled onions and wasabi cream, along with Fermented Thai sausages and Pumpkin som tam with pomegranate.

Upon entering the restaurant, guests will be able to choose whether to sit on stools around the concrete bar and open kitchen, or grab a spot at the ledge circling the edge of the restaurant.

For those who don’t wish to watch the chefs at work on the flaming robata grills, replays of the infamous Japanese gameshow Takeshi’s Castle will be projected onto the wall. In the summer months, outside tables will provide the perfect Soho spot to grab some rays.

The restaurant takes its name from a song by 90s indie grunge band Dinosaur Jr., reflecting the eclectic soundtrack in the dining room. The interiors are similarly diverse, with the walls plastered in vintage posters, and the space decorated with plants, herbs, chillies and candles.

From the bar, guests can order from an irreverent drinks list including Scoby yeast-based cocktails with a rich umami hit; sake bombs; and such blends as the cheekily-named Wet Pussy – peach schnapps and vodka, with a twist of lemon and lime. A New World wine list is rounded out by a sake selection as well as flavoured shochu, 100% vegan Skinny Prosecco and yuzu-spiked Wild Beer, for the beer drinkers.

Hallsworth said, ‘I’m thrilled that we’ve found a permanent home for Freak Scene, and I think Soho is the perfect spot for us. We can’t wait to fire up the grills and introduce our take on Japanese small plates to a whole new part of London.’