Not only can Scott Hallsworth, former head chef at Nobu and founder of the Kurobuta izakaya chain, stand the heat, he also cannot stay out of the kitchen – even if that means cooking on a camping stove. The Aussie with a funky Asian attitude to food might have cooked for the likes of the Beckhams, Michael Jackson and Roman Abramovich, but he started his latest restaurant Freakscene (named after the Dinosaur Jr song) as a hot and humble pop-up in Farringdon using portable gas cookers. It now has a permanent site in Soho (open at 28 Parsons Green, Fulham, SW6 4HS as of March 2023) playing his greatest hits on a robata grill and the results are outstanding feel-good (or should that be feed-good?) grazing plates that will have you coming back for more.
Best enjoyed from a seat at the counter where you can watch Hallsworth and his team in action, our best recommendation is to ignore the menu and leave your taste buds in the capable hands of the food “Freaks” (they don’t call themselves that, we just like the sound of it). Miso-grilled black cod tacos with sushi rice and chilli is salty, sweet, soft, crunchy, hot and hard to eat (but worth making a mess with). Nasu Dengaku is an incredibly moreish pile of miso-grilled aubergine with caramelised walnuts. Steamed squid was fresh, zesty and turned the sharing plate concept into a chopstick joust. And the chicken-fried chicken was a juicy and spicy dish boosted with soy peanuts and crisp cucumber pickles.
Like the grunge sound this joint is named after, Freakscene is rough and ready, but absolutely rocks.