Freak Scene

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About Freak Scene

SquareMeal Review

Silver Award

Kurobuta founder Scott Hallsworth is back with a bang at this firecracker of a chef’s counter which started life as a Clerkenwell pop up and has gone permanent on the Frith Street premises last occupied by the original Barrafina. Looks wise, little has changed since the Barrafina days, although the stools at the counter have been joined by further seating along the ledge where the queue used to be – a tight squeeze when busy, but at least Freak Scene takes bookings. Entertainment comes in the form of a mosh-pit of an indie playlist and replays of Japanese gameshow Takeshi’s Castle projected onto the wall.


The food, meanwhile, offers some of Kurobuta’s greatest hits (the salmon sashimi ‘pizza’ remains as riotously flavoured as ever) and while the cooking is never subtle, the umami explosion of sweet and salty is sure as hell tasty. Several dishes are served in taco variants to be greedily scooped up with the hands – black cod and sushi rice tacos re-invent the Nobu classic as junk food – and almost all come with the sort of sticky sauces that leave you smearing ingredients around the plate chasing one last flavour hit, including our favourite dish of aubergine grilled to a meltingly soft goo offset by the sugar-rush crunch of caramelised walnuts. 


Come with a decent appetite and you could make a healthy stab at ordering most of the menu for around £50 a head. Wine prices will bump up the bill considerably (there’s iced tea for teetotallers and bargain hunters) but this is still great value for an experience that couldn’t be any more Soho, overseen by Hallsworth himself in the open kitchen.


Good to know about Freak Scene

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Ambience
Buzzy, Cool, Fun
People
Dates
Food Occasions
Afternoon eating
Other Features
Counter dining

Location for Freak Scene

54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL

Opening Times of Freak Scene

Tues-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10.30pm)

Reviews of Freak Scene

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1 Reviews
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Mr. Alex G

Freakin’ good
28 February 2019
If you were a chef, what would be your dream? A fair guess might be that once you had a built a cult following, open your own place on your own terms: an intimate venue, decorated just the way you would like it, with your own tunes playing on the sound system. One iteration of this vision can be found at Scott Hallsworth’s Freak Scene in Soho. Some have likened the venue to a teenager’s bedroom, but a more considered assessment might be a deft mingling of the retro and the cool: think NWA hip-hop meets Japanese manga culture, with a bit of graffiti thrown in for good measure. This is not a place for intimacy (indeed, it’s rather loud), but more for hanging out and digging the scene. Diners have only the choice of sitting in a row at the counter (or by the wall on the opposite side), but this is perhaps deliberate, as from here it is possible to see the whole show in action – not just the art and the music, but Scott and his team crafting the dishes. It seemed evident to us from a recent midweek visit that everything here is done with passion and prior thought, even if the vibe suggests a more relaxed and impromptu approach. The culinary angle is pan-Asian with strong Japanese influences, and draws on Scott’s prior experience at Nobu and Kurobuta. As is the current fashion, all dishes are meant for sharing, allowing diners to sample across the menu (and, more cynically, potentially spend more). Here, the choice is around twenty offerings, the majority of which are established favourites on the list, although some plates do change, depending on demand and seasonality. What stood out from the dozen or so dishes our group of four sampled were two things: the beautiful presentation throughout and the artful combination of spice, savoury, sour and sweet notes. Each mouthful was an intense flavour sensation. To give some examples, chilli crab is paired with avocado in a wonton ‘bomb,’ miso-grilled black cod (pictured) is stuffed into a taco and complemented with sushi rice and chilli salsa, or Thai pork is married with Scotch Bonnet mayo in a dainty bun. Vegetarians are also well catered for, with mushroom, cauliflower, artichoke and aubergine options featuring on the menu. Expect to pay around £10 per dish. Cocktails are also cool here and once the main dining rush is over, Freak Scene remains an enjoyable bar option. Sip your drink, take in the vibe and get your freak on. 
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
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