Eat this: Freak Scene

Eclectic twists offer curious Asian plates at this new restaurant, which is headed up by the founder of Kurobuta.

5 April 2018
asianbakeryfermentedjapaneserestaurant openingrestaurants
  • The Gist: Inspired by the bustling Singaporean hawker centres to produce curious plates
  • The Chef: Scott Hallsworth
  • Location: 54 Frith Street, London W1D 4SL
  • Food in 5 words: Asian cuisine with a twist
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How did we get here?

Freak Scene started as a pop-up in Clerkenwell, but has now found a permanent home in Soho.

Chef Scott Hallsworth previously founded Kurobuta, a Chelsea-based favourite that takes inspiration from Japanese izakayas, serving up tapas-style plates which Guardian critic Jay Rayner described as “insanely delicious.” Hallsworth is also the former head chef at Nobu Australia and Nobu Park Lane. So he is no stranger to Asian food.

Inspired by his experience in Japanese, Singaporean and Malay cooking, Hallsworth has put together a Southeast Asian-inspired menu for his new venture.

What’s different about it?

It’s been summed up as curious Asian plates. And indeed, there are some weird mishmashes, but this is balanced with popular ingredients and styles from other countries, which are fused into the food. Hallsworth describes the restaurant as a place for foodies offering a grazing-style menu.

Signature dishes from the pop-up will make the move to Soho. These include miso-grilled black cod tacos with sushi rice and scorched red chilli; chilli crab and avocado wonton bombs; and a honey-hoisin grilled pork belly with mussels and chilli jam ssam (a leafy vegetable) wrap.

Hallsworth is also getting in on the barbecue  action – which seems to be all the rage in London at the moment – with Japanese-style flaming robata grills in the open kitchen.

Miso grilled black cod tacos with scorched red chill salsa
image credit: James Byrne

You’ve got to try…

The new additions to the menu, which are even more experimental that the pop-up staples. For example, try the foie gras croissant with star anise jus, which proves that the versatility of the croissant knows no bounds, even after the tacro and crossushi.

Then there’s the crispy nori cone with tea-smoked beef fillet, pickled onions and wasabi cream – taking the sushi base and turning it on its head.

Sparkie also likes…

The Thai sausages – fermented, so they are good for the gut – and pumpkin som tam (a green papaya salad) with pomegranate.

Even the drinks have an Asian twist, with SCOBY (used to produce kombucha) yeast-based cocktails with a rich umami hit, sake bombs and yuzu-spiked Wild Beer.

Go if…

You want expertly paired flavours and unusual amalgamations in a move away from standard Asian cuisine.

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