Scott Hallsworth


Scott Hallsworth

Making Kurobuta a reality was much harder than Scott originally thought. Funding fell through for his initial site after he had announced its opening, so there was already hype surrounding a restaurant that didn’t exist. ‘We didn’t want to lose the momentum, so we decided to scrape everything we had together and open a pop-up to make some money,’ explains Scott. ‘After all, everyone else seemed to be doing it! Our agent found a venue on the King’s Road in Chelsea and we thought it would never work. But we fell in love with the place when we saw it; dingy, shabby and with a tiny kitchen. We worked twenty-four hours a day until it worked, and by the second week of opening we were making a profit. It all blew up overnight and went crazy – we only had thirty-eight seats but were doing something like 110 covers a night. It was tough, but the sense of pride that came out of my guys after we made it happen was unbelievable.’

Kurobuta soon became the most talked about pop-up in west London (if not the entire city), and Scott found a new, permanent venue to move his restaurant to. Since then, he opened another Kurobuta in Marble Arch, had a two-year residency on the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols and a restaurant in Bodrum, Turkey called Kurochan. ‘We also opened Kurobuta Canteen in Soho in 2016, which is a bit more accessible price-wise,' he says. 'It’s all happened very fast in a short period of time, but it all comes down to hard work and having a good idea.’

In 2017, Scott sold all of his Kurobuta restaurants and opened up Freak Scene, a three-month pan-Asian pop-up in Farringdon. It proved a huge hit, and now is a permanent fixture in London's Soho.

Scott Hallsworth Video

Scott Hallsworth talks to us about some of his favourite dishes at Kurobuta ahead of his appearance at Taste of London 2016.

Three things you should know

Scott’s love of music is evident throughout all his restaurants, with rock music on the playlist and flight cases used in the kitchen as storage.

Scott believes that the pop-up restaurant concept is the only way he could have made Kurobuta a reality, as he could test whether his idea actually worked without needing huge investment upfront.

In the early days of Kurobuta, the kitchen was so small that the now famous pork belly buns had to be taken down the street to another restaurant to be steamed – a world away from the large bespoke kitchens Scott was used to at Nobu.