Boxpark started in Shoreditch, being a pile of shipping containers which contain fashion and restaurant outlets. It has opened a food-only version in Croydon, which has about 50 container restaurants around a central seating area.
You can get food from most of the broad categories out there, with Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, tapas, breakfast, vegan and vegetarian, and burgers being just the ones I can recall off the top of my head.
It is a lively place with lots of people eating together from large tables, sharing each other’s space. On Saturday nights they play pretty loud music, but at other times the volume is reasonable unless you hate music while eat.
At one end they have a screen to advertise the restaurants there; not sure that is necessary, but at least it isn’t loud. Sometimes they put sporting events on there too, and even lay out deckchairs so you can lounge while you watch.
There are two slightly expensive bars, as well, with a full bar (card payments only) at one end and a smaller quick service (allegedly) at the other. Because all the stalls are independent, I won’t comment in general about the staff except to note the people manning the small bar were weirdly rude; perhaps they had had a bad day.
The main bar has a weird bleacher style seating set up; however it also has air conditioning, which is some relief from the greenhouse style roof in summer.
Regarding food, we have tried a few outlets and will surely try more over time, as the range is so large. We weren’t too impressed with Coqfighter, a Korean burger place which supplied a huge sweetcorn fritter in a bun with daikon and sriracha mayo.
This was ok once you reached the bun and the sharp veg in order to cut through the horrible greasiness of the fritter.
They also gave my mate a chicken burger which had a thigh bone in and similar levels of fat. He was not happy. To be fair it did say chicken thigh on the menu; he should have paid more attention.
We have eaten at Kothu Kothu, a Sri Lankan place which does roti fry – a stir fry of loads of vegetables, flatbread and sauce with a protein of your choice. Quite good, but needs chilli for a better flavour.
This time fiancée went to Bao Bao, which is a Taiwanese bubble tea shop with a small choice of snacks and meals. She brought back a rice meal and some snacks as sharing starters. Her braised pork and rice was alright, but she isn’t clamouring for a return.
The sausages were the best starter to the meat eaters, though not that tasty they were a little fatty and had good texture. Sweet potato fries were in the semi traditional spicy batter. The texture of these was also pleasant, but for some reason the batter has an artificial sweetener in.
They also do a steamed bun with pork, which was apparently inferior to the ones at Yo Sushi though lower in price. Better are their bubble teas: icy, milky tea with chewy tapioca pearls. Weird the first time but good after that! They do a range of fruit flavours and fruit pearls too.
In the past we have tried the Lahmacun at the Vegan Doner place. This was crispy then soggy freshly made flatbread, with a tomato and mock lamb sauce, then kebab toppings. OK, but about half as much again of the price it should be.
So far the food at Boxpark has broadly struck me as a little over priced (and maybe over trendy!) and a little under exciting, but there is such a wide range to explore that I am certain to try more and update this. I should also stress that it is a good place to go as a group, because you don’t have to argue about what to eat!
Address: 99 George Street, Croydon CR01LD