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Vanity Fair

19 January 2023

The Chef at Freak Scene

Aussie chef Scott Hallsworth walks through his establishment in shorts and a t-shirt, flipping meat on the grill and pouring beer for customers. It’s a far cry from his training; he was head chef at Michelin-starred Nobu Park Lane for six years before flying back to Australia to open the Nobu in Melbourne. He is a master of pan-Asian cuisine and has taken it in a new (decidedly casual) direction at Freak Scene.

The Food at Freak Scene

This is high-quality cooking made fun; seriously fun. Octopus doughnuts, chilli crab, and avocado wonton bombs fly out of the kitchen to a thumping soundtrack. The beef fillet tataki and the homemade chips should be on your order, alongside the Thai sausage patty buns and the hot chocolate mousse. This is the kind of food that makes you happy, licking your greasy lips in satisfaction.

The Drinks at Freak Scene

The drinks list is short but sweet; a couple of lagers, about six sake options, a handful of cocktails and white wines, and just one red option. Scott and the team like to encourage customers to indulge in a shot before leaving, and often get involved themselves.

The Design at Freak Scene

Imagine the bedroom of a music-obsessed 17-year-old with a bent for Japanese culture, and you’ll probably be picturing Freak Scene. The small premises on Frith Street consists of an L-shaped, metal bar with diners on one side and skilled, chilled chefs on the other. The walls are papered with band paraphernalia, there’s a TV showing clips of Takeshi’s Castle and the sound system is always blaring. It makes sense, given Freak Scene takes its name from a Dinosaur Jr. song, but you’d only know that if you’re a music buff like Hallsworth.

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