Double Dragon by Scott Hallsworth

Japanese·
££££
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Silver Award
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SquareMeal Review of Double Dragon by Scott Hallsworth

Silver Award

This izakaya-inspired, pop-up concept by ex-Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth has dug its poles into a former bank near Exmouth Market, and we’re rather hoping it generates enough kudos to become more than just a fleeting residence. There’s something enjoyably unserious about the whole thing, from comical nods to its synonymous Japanese video game via playful menu typography, to the joyful interspersions of primary colours used throughout the bright dining room - think saffron yellow banquette seating, orange bar stools and cobalt blue window frames. The setting is fun, chilled-out and refreshingly spacious for a Japanese-inspired drinking den. 

And so, we get to the drinks, for all self-proclaimed izakayas must serve a cracking cocktail list if nothing else. We were instantly attracted to an eponymous creation – Double Dragon – which turned out to be a gentle, yet guzzle-able, combination of jasmine tea-infused gin, sake, sencha, sugar and lime juice. Elsewhere, a short and sour Bonzai Kitten was laced with vodka and sake and hit emphatic notes of citrus. 

Scott has strong ties to Japanese cuisine (Nobu and Kurobota) and the menu feels like a triumphant culmination of his experience and expertise, just without the astronomic price tag. Things kick off with a mountain of blackened padron peppers drowning in a glossy and addictive miso-lemon dressing. Delicate bites of yellowtail sashimi are offset by punchy accents of yuzu and soy, while hot, deep-fried artichoke ‘chopsticks’ arrived with an incredible truffle ponzu dip that we had to deliberately ask our waitress not to clear away, lest we need it later. One of the greatest dishes, though, was two charred chunks of hispi cabbage steeped in an umami-heavy beurre noisette and dusted with shaved miso.  

We half expected dessert to fall by the wayside after so many good savoury things, but a hefty glass of hot (yes, in temperature) chocolate mousse served over cold ice cream stood up to its precursors. 

Lots of the dishes sound, on paper, like too many ingredients fused together, but Scott’s ability to balance flavours shows no bounds. Here’s hoping it gets promoted from pop-up to permanent!  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Japanese
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions

About Double Dragon by Scott Hallsworth

Scott Hallsworth, having more than earned his stripes as Nobu's head chef for six years, has opened an izakaya-style pop up in Clerkenwell. The site, which was originally a bank, has historically been home to pizzerias before Scott took over. The wood-fired oven, however, is being put to good use here, turning out pizzettes topped with Japanese flavours. The menu at Double Dragon, which takes its name from the Street Fighter-esque video game, is large. Each dish, however, is under £15 - a serious reduction in price compared to Hallsworth's previous restaurants. Drinks are also a big focus here, with a range of sake-based cocktails featuring alongside a range of wines, beers and spirits. 

Diners at Double Dragon can kick things off with wood-fired Padron peppers or scorched edamame, served with mustard miso and sake lemon butter respectively. There are some more traditional dishes on offer here, like yellowtail sashimi with wasabi, yuzu and soy or BBQ pork belly buns with house pickles. That being said, most of the menu is playful, with unusual additions that add a bit of fun. Beef tataki here, for example, is beer-marinated and comes topped with garlic crisps, while the miso grilled aubergine comes topped with candied walnuts. Don't miss the scorched hispi cabbage, which comes laced with ponzu, beurre noisette, truffle oil and miso. And, as another playful touch, the spicy tuna maki is a roulette: one roll is spiked with extra hot sauce, and there is a shot of cucumber sake for the winner. There is a short list of punchy desserts, like lychee and gen mai cha sorbet with rose syrup.

The signature cocktail here is a blend of jasmine tea-infused gin, sake, sencha and lime, while other concoctions feature other sakes and spirits alongside flavours like ginger, green apple and apricot. There is a short but varied wine list with bottles from all over the world, Japanese whiskey from the barrel and the classic Japanese lager, Asahi.


FAQs

Who is the chef?

Scott Hallsworth, who was previously head chef at the Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Nobu.

Helpful? 0

Are there vegetarian options?

Yes, there are vegetarian options.

Helpful? 0

Where is the restaurant?

The restaurant is in Clerkenwell, near Exmouth market.

Helpful? 0

Location

84 Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QY

020 7683 0326

Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-22:00
Wed 18:00-22:00
Thu 18:00-22:00
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-23:00
Sat 12:00-23:00
Sun Closed

Reviews

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1 Review 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Maria L

09 April 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Worth a Visit

The food was playful and scrumptious, the ambiance buzzy and fun, and the cocktails fantastic – I was glad to see this popup has arrived to liven up the Exmouth Market area, and I hope to return soon!

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