Scott Hallsworth Kurobuta chef

Kurobuta chef and owner, Scott Hallsworth, has had a busy start to the year. He’s moved the Chelsea branch of Kurobuta a few doors down King’s Road (opening 30 January) and has announced plans to launch Joe’s Oriental Diner in its place (opening 13 February). We caught up with the main man to find out a little more about both….

How’s it going with the opening of the new Kurobuta?
As is always the case with a new restaurant opening, we were running way behind schedule. We’re used to it though; the first Kurobuta opened four and half days after we received the keys. We don’t like to mess around – we have a ‘get on with it’ kind of attitude.

Why the move?
Kurobuta has become really popular and there was a demand for a bigger site. Every night we’ve had to turn people away due to lack of space, which isn’t good; it’s important to have space for the locals as they’re the ones who will keep coming back. When the new premises came up down the road, a move seemed the smartest thing to do.

Tell us about the menu at Joe’s Oriental Diner.
It’s best described as Pan-Asian. There are going to be small sharing plates and the seasoning is going to be big and bold with fresh herbs and zesty flavours. I’m a real sucker for a duck red curry and it’s easily my favourite thing on the menu. The sour Thai pork sausages, which are a little snack, are also incredible.

What about the atmosphere?
It’s going to be similar to Kurobuta: relaxed and buzzy but with a touch of ‘spooky Orient’ thrown in.  I love to think how bizarre and mysterious it must have been for European sailors in the old days going through those port cities like Shanghai. I want to recreate that. It sounds odd, but I think it’ll be a fun and unique place to sit and eat.

Where does your passion for the Far East come from?

When I was a 16-year-old apprentice in Australia, Asian flavours were starting to hit the supermarkets as well as restaurant kitchens, which meant that I could play around with new and exciting ingredients at home as well as at work. Sushi also became massively popular. As a young chef who wanted to learn everything, it was a really exciting time.

What’s on the horizon?
We’re looking at opening another Kurobuta for sure. There’s a site we’re in negotiations with right now at West India Quay, which is an exciting location. There are some cool things set to happen over there. We’re also in talks with some guys in Dubai who are presenting us with an offer to do a joint venture out there, which is pretty exciting.

This article was published on 29 January 2015