When I saw that BOXPARK had opened in Croydon I think I might have actually punched the air with excitement. After years of visiting the BOXPARK in Shoreditch – a collection of shops, cafes and restaurants housed in refitted shipping containers – for slices of Queen Vegan at Voodoo Rays and Noodle Bowls from CookDaily, there was going to be a Boxpark in South London, a short tram ride from my flat. C’mon!
BOXPARK opened it’s doors last year in Croydon stating “it’s often easy to forget Croydon’s cultural impact. Croydon is the home of Peep Show, Dubstep and the BRIT School – where former alumni include Amy Winehouse, Adele and Katy B.” And whilst I think I’m much more Mark Corrigan than Jez I am still very happy to see Croydon getting some love and a revitalised booze and food scene.
Today, under grey skies, Josh and I trammed it over to BOXPARK and straight to CookDaily. Even though they clearly mugged me off in the process, Time Out declared this January that King Cookdaily (real name King Senathit) “deserves the title of London’s coolest vegan in 2017.” The reason he’s so cool? His food man, it’s really really good.
At CookDaily you choose from various bowls – some have southeast Asian flavours, others have Caribbean influences and the ‘full English’ is a nod to one of the UK’s fave big breakfasts. All are £8.50 each, all are vegan, and all are incredibly tasty and filling in a really satisfying stroke-your-belly-and-smile kind of way.
Josh went for the Full English: tofu “egg” scramble, mushrooms, tomatoes, greens, sausages and a swirl of their house brown sauce topped with crispy baecon; served over brown rice.
Now bear in mind if I’m Lisa Simpson, then Josh is Ron Swanson, so I was nervous that this would be a pretty bold choice from him… but.. he ate the whole dang thing. In fact he said: “it wasn’t bad.” Editor’s note: that’s high praise! He said he’d definitely eat it again and he really liked the “dirty frankfurter” sausages and was impressed by the tofu scramble. Talking of the scramble,despite being veggie for over a year this was my first time tasting it. HOLYMOLY! What took me so long? It’s really tasty. If you’re newly vegan and just not sure you’ll like it; give it a go, it’s smooth and light and creamy – pretty extraordinary really.
In a break with tradition – I really really love the Noodle Bowl: vegan udon noodle stir-fry with mixed veggies, beansprouts and roasted chilli oil, topped with ‘char siu’ crumbles and lime (and end up ordering that pretty much every time) – today I went with the House Pad Thai. A stonking great bowl of flat rice noodles stir-fried with ‘egg tofu’, beansprouts and carrots flavoured with tamarind and their homemade ‘vegan fish sauce’ served with crushed peanuts and chickn. Ugh. It was lovely. The perfect amount of heat and spice and a veritable mountain of noodles.
The great things about these bowls are they are massive but I never feel gross afterwards. Full, sure. But content not uncomfortable. Amazing on a cold day but I can confirm they rule in the summer too. It was great too to see that CookDaily was so popular today – this vegan food is accessible, packed with flavour and easy to love. If you find yourself in London and near Croydon or Shoreditch you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bowl of freshly cooked, nutritious food for under a tenner. I just can’t wait to try every single thing on the menu. Way to go CookDaily, way to go!