New on Kickstarter this week is Scott Hallsworth, erstwhile Nobu head chef and progenitor of the Kurobuta brand, which was sold from under his feet earlier this year. "We were kicking serious arse, but then it all came crashing down. You think it's never going to happen to you," he says in an online video promoting his just launched crowdfunding campaign. At the time of writing, with 17 days to run, the campaign has received £2,923 from 12 separate backers.
The izakaya lover and Dinosaur Jr fan hopes to muster £22,000 to fuel his “curious Asian plates” Freak Scene pop-up, open daily in Farringdon until the lease runs out on 30 December. A new site nearby will allow the "approachable Oriental diner" to expand from 28 seats to 60, before going global, if the Vietnamese/Thai/Malay/Singaporean/Chinese small plates plus "killer sake, big beers and lots of strong shōchū" formula proves to be more than a cult indie hit.
Hallsworth, originally from a mining town in West Australia, launched Kurobuta in Chelsea in 2013, and created pop-ups for Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum, and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, as well as growing the brand to three sites and 220 seats in London. Before things went pear shaped, the Chelsea pop-up hosted rock royalty including Adele and Jimmy Page. Now, says Hallsworth, he is "stoked" and sees the end of Kurobuta as an opportunity. "I'm excited to be doing it all again," he says.