Step aside, mundane dining experiences – because Freak Scene Sushi and Robata in Balham is here to shake up your taste buds with a tsunami of flavour.

I headed to the popular restaurant located on Ramsden Road on Friday night and can confidently say it was one of the best – if not THE best – Japanese restaurants this side of the river.

Freak Scene, a pan-Asian eatery helmed by Australian chef Scott Hallsworth, formerly the head chef of Nobu and founder of Kurobuta, made its debut in March 2018 in the vibrant heart of Soho.

After opening a pop-up in Farringdon and another restaurant in Fulham, it has extended its flavourful journey to Balham, with the launch of Freak Scene Sushi and Grill in January 2024.

News Shopper: We were taken to our table by the friendly front of house, who made us feel welcome as soon as we stepped in the doors.

The atmosphere was buzzy yet relaxing, and the interior design was cozy yet stylish, with a touch of Japanese flair that transports you to a chic izakaya in the heart of Tokyo.

The warm lighting, sleek décor, and friendly staff create an inviting atmosphere that's perfect for everything from a casual dinner with friends to a romantic date night.

The menu was packed with options for all, from Tataki to Omaske, Tempura shrimp rolls to Donut Balls, and items were based between £5-£20.

News Shopper: As the true foodies my friend and I are, we ordered seven tapas dishes to share, including the Scorched Edamame with Sake, Butter, Sea Salt and Lemon (£6), Tuna Sushi Taco (£4), Salmon and Avocado rolls (£10), Redefine Meat Thai Meatballs with Tamarind Ketchup (£10), Hispi Cabbage with Ponzu, Buerre Noisette, Truffle and Dried Miso (£12), Chicken-fried Chicken with Sticky Peanut Soy (£18) and Koffmans Chips with Truffle Ponzu (£5).

News Shopper: It's very rare to go to a restaurant and fall in love with every item you taste, but I digress, the food I ate at Freak Scene was like something out of a movie, and I have been dreaming of it ever since.

My personal favourite was the Thai Meatballs – the taste was unlike anything I ever had before, full of flavour and enriched in spices.

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The Salmon and avocado rolls offered a delightful blend of creamy richness from the avocado paired with the buttery texture and subtle sweetness of the salmon.

Another personal favourite was the Hispi Cabbage with Ponzu – the cabbage had a tender yet slightly crisp texture, while the ponzu sauce adds a zesty and tangy kick, with hints of citrus and soy enhancing the natural sweetness of the cabbage.

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And let's not forget about the drinks, because no sushi adventure is complete without a little liquid courage.

From provocative shots to delicious cocktails, their drink menu is as diverse and exciting as their food menu.

News Shopper: But perhaps the best part of dining at Freak Scene is the atmosphere - even the toilets were fun, as you could quite literally doodle while you do your business.

News Shopper: And the staff? Friendly, knowledgeable, and always ready with a witty joke or two to keep the mood light and lively.

With its mouth watering sushi, tantalizing robata grill, and lively atmosphere, it's a culinary adventure you won't soon forget.

So, grab your chopsticks and get ready to roll – you won’t regret it.