There’s been a buzz about Freakscene since it opened a month ago. Professor Green was snapped there and photos of GoT cast members stopping by have popped up on Instagram. But then this isn’t any old restaurant pop-up; Freakscene is the work of Scott Hallsworth, the super chef behind celebrity favourite Kurobuta and former head chef at Nobu Australia and Park Lane. For this Farringdon spot, Hallsworth has done away with any former fanciness, and with partner Phar, created a labour of love.
Venue and Atmosphere
A former Suchef outpost has been turned into a clapboard restaurant; tables and chairs cobbled together from IKEA and a wooden bar top constructed with help from a neighbour. It might be a bit slapdash but it’s charming in even larger quantities, something the rest of East London seems to agree with as every table was full. Loud rock music blasted out over the din of a fit-to-burst restaurant, and the two waiters squished and squeezed with dexterity to make sure everyone was attended to. The best seats in the house are the three bar stools, which give you a front-row ticket to Hallsworth as he creates magic in the open kitchen.
Food and Drink
Much like at Kurobuta, Hallworth’s Asian-twist cuisine is on the menu again at Freakscene, with dishes designed to share. It doesn't take to long to realise the reason behind Freakscene's popularity, about two seconds after I've shoved the first morsel of food into my mouth to be precise. I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but Freakscene is worth every superlative I’m about to throw its way. Starting with fish dishes, chilli crab wonton bombs (£6.50) were mixed with lemon juice and piled on avocado for a seaside fresh dish, while a miso-grilled hunk of cod fillet (£9.75) was mixed with sushi rice and piled into a crunchy taco. Tuna sashimi pizza (£11) was like a gift from the gods; as we stuffed a pastry-like base topped with soft tuna, caviar, crunchy sesame seeds and rich truffle oil, I heard my companion mutter something about having it at his wedding, birthday and finally, wake (in what capacity, I’m not sure).
Both poultry dishes are cooked until the meat slips off the bone as easily as hot butter. Chicken-fried chicken (£11.50) is the sort of dish that will win fried chicken a Michelin star some day, as meat was covered in a soy and peanut sauce and freshened with chunks of cool cucumber. The duck (£12) was similarly as rich, coated in a red curry sauce and lightened by sweet lychee. While it shouldn't work on paper, the fried pork belly (£10.75), mussels and chilli jam wrapped in a cos lettuce leaf, was plate-licking-ly good as the honey hoisin of the pork melted with the sweet punch of the chilli jam.
The food is incredible and amazing, made even more awe-worthy by the fact that it is largely the work of one man. As we ate, Scott Hallsworth cooked with Mo Farah like continuity, embarked on some sort of culinary marathon. Freakscene is supposedly only around for three months; you have two options, pray to ye gods that it becomes a permanent fixture, or get yourself down to Farringdon as soon as possible.
Freakscene is open for lunch and dinner Monday - Saturday; 12pm - 11.30pm (Monday - Thursday) and 12am (Friday and Saturday). Find it at 91 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6BH.