Boxpark Croydon traders each reveal their star dish
Now the wait for Boxpark Croydon to open is finally over we all have the difficult choice of picking which type of food or drink we want to try first out of the cuisines from around the globe and from there it doesn’t get any easier as we have to select what to order.
Should it be Korean fried chicken wings, a Guyenese roti, beer brewed here in Croydon or a French crepe?
To help everyone decide we have got in contact with all of the current 34 traders at Boxpark to ask them what is their star dish.
Pizzas made from a Roman recipe and handmade arancini balls.
Star dish: Carnivora pizza which has spicy salami, ham and pork sausage as its toppings.
Michele Mortari, the owner, said: “We were running a street food stall at a market in Shoreditch and the guys from Boxpark came to try our food.
“They pretty much straight away proposed for us to come to Croydon, they loved our food so much.
“We use a pizza recipe from Rome where the dough is left to rise for 24 hours before it is cooked.
“This results in there being less yeast which makes it lighter to eat.
“We also make a range of handmade arancini with ingredients including Bolognese inside.
“Croydon deserves a place like this. People shouldn’t have to go into London. We want to bring an Italian vibe to the town”.
Pizzas are made using a recipe from Rome rather than the traditional style from Naples
Taiwanese street food serving traditional Bao buns and noodle soup
This is the first restaurant for the Bao Bao team. They are selling bao which are steam buns filled with options such as chicken or pork. Customers can also try beef noodle soup, braised pork on a bed of rice and the hugely popular bubble tea drink.
Charcoal grilled burgers, ribs, steaks, frozen cocktails and craft beers
Star dish: 72 hour beef ribs slow cooked with tobacco onions and jalapeno dressing
Robin Freeman, co-owner and chef, said they have a site at Boxpark Shoreditch and due to their popularity they were asked if they wanted to open in Croydon as well.
Mr Freeman said: “I’ve had friends move to Croydon recently, it is a place that is on the up and I wanted to be a part of it. I’ve already got a good vibe about the area”
They will also be selling grab-and-go breakfast options and takeaway lunches for offices in Croydon.
Bang Bang Hawker
Vietnamese street food serving up traditional pho and grills
Star dish: Pho which is a noodle soup consisting of broth, herbs and choice of meat.
Owner David Le said: “We run the Bang Bang Canteen in Warren Strreet, Fitzrovia, and here in Croydon we have a whole new concept and menu centred around Vietnamese hawker [street food].
“This is a new opportunity for us to expand in a growing area.”
During the weekends there will be resident DJs and cocktail lovers will be able to chill by the island bar.
Healthy Italian street food serving up bruschetta, traditional piadina and salads
Star dish: Bruschetta with lavish Italian toppings
Cristian Zago, owner, said this is their first ever “brick and mortar” unit. He lived in Addiscombe for four years and was walking through George Street when he saw an advert for Boxpark and after an interview was offered a unit.
Mr Zago said: “Our signature dish is our bruschetta. We found that we were losing business by not having a gluten free as well option so we’ve started making piadina [Italian flatbreads] as and the sales have gone through the roof.
“The bread for our bruschetta comes from Sicily and all our ingredients are the finest options imported from southern Italy.”
“It is by total chance that we are here. If I hadn’t walked past that poster in George Street it would never have happened.”
The bread used to the make the bruschetta comes from Sicily
The Breakfast Club
All-day breakfast with additional lunch and dinner menus offering proper comfort food such as burgers, tacos, mac and cheese and beef chilli.
Star dish: All American – pancakes, eggs, sausage, home-style potatoes, streaky bacon & maple syrup.
Hayley Simpson, creative manager, said: “The most important part of a Breakfast Club caf is that it’s a friendly, welcoming place to be. Our founders Jonathan and Ali are obsessed with the US sitcom ‘Cheers’ so the phrase ‘where everybody knows your name’ is the kind of space we aim to create.
“We hire people, not robots, and we hope that comes through as soon as you walk through the doors.”
The Breakfast Club are renowned for their brunch and all-day breakfasts
Traditional Brazilian street food
Star dish: “The Pele” beef rib burger which also contains chicken, Brazilian churrasco sauce, pineapple and red cabbage slaw topped with Gloucester cheese, bacon, crispy onion and sweet potato shaving and a fried egg.
Owner Maurilio Goncalves said: “Carioca was first set up in Brixton market in 2012 because we wanted to change the perception that Brazilian food in London is no more than a BBQ feast.
“We want our feast to be visually pleasing as it is mouth-watering, when it is served with a friendly Latino smile.”
Customers arriving at Carioca are greeted with a friendly Latino smile
Greek frozen yoghurt, ice cream and smoothies with a self-service topping bar
Star dish: Hazelnut Bueno flavour frozen yoghurt
Maria Amanaki, manager, said: “We have two stores in London, one in Brixton and one here [in Croydon]. This was an opportunity we could not miss.
“We offer self-service where people pour the Greek yoghurt into a container and then add as much toppings as they like.
“The favourite is always Bueno flavour, everyone loves it and always comes back for more.”
Customers can use the self-service toppings counter at Chillbox
Mexican street food serving up burritos, nachos and tacos
They have been inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine but have added new tastes and flavours courtesy of inspiration from the largest Mexican communities in the USA.
Chilango is serving free burritos at Boxpark this Friday (November 4) between 12pm and 8pm for their own launch party.
South East Asian vegan food bowls
Star dish: “High Grade” which is stir-fried vegetables in a smokey sweet’n’sour BBQ sauce topped with green herbs and hemp seed crumbles and served over brown rice.
Don Vienne, co-owner, said: “What we sell is 100 per cent vegan.
“We have been part of Shoreditch Boxpark since the beginning and have built up a large following. We like the Boxpark method and we didn’t have to even think twice about joining Croydon.
“This place is buzzing.”
Korean fried chicken wings, chicken burgers, Bao
Star Dish: Burger containing panko fried chicken thigh, shredded iceberg lettuce, pickled red onion, smoked sambal mayo and Korean hot sauce.
Three Australian housemates hope that Boxpark will be the start they need to find a permanent site in London for their chicken restaurant.
Troy Sawyer, 25, Deacon Rose, 31 and Tristan Clough, 26, were approached about 10 months ago.
Troy, a former freelance illustrator, said: “We took up the offer straight away.
“For us and I’m sure for other businesses in here who aren’t backed by big firms, when you have no money, opening a restaurant in London is not viable.
“So the opportunity to get footfall and all the benefits you get with being in here is a start.”
The trio started the company after they found a love for Korean fried chicken in Australia.
They deep fry their chicken in vodka batter, which they say helps retain moisture in the chicken.
The inspiration of the name comes from the French word for chicken – coq.
Craft beers and ales
Star beer: Nektar pale ale which is brewed using Marynka hops from Poland and has hints of blackcurrant and a spicy finish.
The Cronx Brewery is a Croydon brewery based in New Addington. Simon Dale and Mark Russell have been brewing their own beer for just over 4 years.
The outlet is launching with a whole range of different beers, six cask ales, ten keg lines and a range of bottles.
They plan on offering more specials in time for Christmas.
The brewery have also revealed that the outlet is being designed with lots of plug and USB points for customers to use.
Mark Russell and Simon Dale are the team behind Cronx
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
Speciality coffee, cakes and pastries
Star drink: Filter coffees
Maryam A-Mazraei said: “We are going to have two coffee shops at Boxpark Croydon.
“The first which has opened is situated at the top right by East Croydon station and the second is opening round the corner along the street.
“We are offering customers the option to choose from a carefully selected range of espressos alongside, a range of artisan cakes.”
Star dish: Aubergine Manchego bake
Owner Jason O’Brien said: “Over the last 10 years I’ve been creating my own recipes. I focus on simple dishes that are affordable for customers who want to return again and again.
“Here in Croydon we are offering a stripped down version of the menu of our restaurant in Honour Oak Park. We have been working on creating artisan sandwich baps using ingredients from the menu that people can get to grab-and-go.
“I plan on going to Surrey Street Market regularly to see what is available to help me come up with new ‘specials’ for the menu.”
Dum Dums Donutterie
Freshly baked – not fried – handmade artisan croissant/doughnut mix
Star dish: ‘Zebra’ which has layers of croissant dough and chocolate croissant dough, chocolate buttercream filling and chocolate ganache topping.
Adil Malik, owner of the Croydon outlet, said: “The nice rich butter of the croissant doughnut gives it a savoury flavour and you get the nice chocolate at the same time.
“I was brought up in Croydon. When I heard about Boxpark I got really excited and wanted to be a part of it.
“When this opportunity came along I couldn’t resist.”
The doughnuts are freshly baked rather than fried
Feed Me Primal
The UK’s only paleo street food trader serving up free range meat and organic vegetables
Launched by Gemma Callander in 2014, Feed Me Primal has been operating at markets and at events across London ever since. This is her first restaurant.
All meals are served in two freshly made paleo flatbreads and stuffed with caulirice, griddled peppers and red onion, seasonal salad and topped with homemade tomato sauce.
You can choose to add toppings and pick your own fresh herbs. Everything is 100 per cent gluten and grain free.
Options include grass-fed steak, free range chicken, a meat combo when you can’t decide between the two and a vegetarian choice.
Fish, Wings and Tings
Star dish: cod fish fritters
Owner and chef Brian Danclair said: “We’ve been based in Brixton for five years now and built up a following. Some people in Croydon know us already and because I live in Croydon I’m excited to be here now.
“We have a small menu of dishes that curry goat, jerk chicken, pepper prawns and cod fish fritters.”
French cuisine specialising in chargrilled steak and crab dishes
Star dish: Flat iron steak and the crab fish cake
Moris Mankarious, shareholder, said: “Fixed is a new restaurant concept.
“We are involved in running other restaurants selling American, Greek and Italian food and together the decision was made to expand to French cuisine as well.
“We opened our first branch in Northcote Road [Battersea] in September and because we know the Boxpark team in Shoreditch we have been working with them so we could have our second restaurant open very soon after in Croydon.”
This is the second branch of Fixed to open
Serving fresh cold press juices, salads and vegan cakes
Get Juiced opened two years ago at Tooting Market. The ethos is to to create revitalising healthy, yet tasty and nutritious foods and juices all suitable for vegans.
No artificial additives or preservatives are used.
Greek on the Street
Greek street food rich in Olive oil, vegetables, pulses, grains and protein
Star dish: Souvlaki wraps which contain either chicken, lamb kefte, Cypriot halloumi or falafel. The wraps are made out of flatbread with homemade tzatziki, fresh tomatoes, red onion and sweet paprika.
A spokeswoman said they aim to “bring a little bit of Greek sunshine to Croydon”.
Indian street food
Star dish: Dosas which are pancakes wrapped round Masala potato and lentils with two types of chutney.
Sham Mahabir said: “We have a restaurant very close to Shoreditch Boxpark and they approached us asking if we wanted to be a part of Croydon.
“We jumped at the chance to bring Indian street food to south London. We make food that is full of flavour that you find being made on every street in India.”
Next level pretzels
Star dish: Pretzel topped with tomato, mozzarella, basil and black olives
Each pretzel is handmade using 110 per cent natural ingredients takes 22 hours to make. This age old artisan bread making method allows the key ingredients of butter, honey and organic Shipton Mill flour to create desired the texture and flavour.
You may recognise Knot from their units at Victoria station and Clapham Junction station.
Sri Lankan street food
Star dish: Kothu Roti containing either mutton, chicken or vegetables
Owner Dhariny Sivajee said: “Kothu Roti is one of Sri Lanka’s most famous and loved street food dishes.
“The roti flat bread is traditionally cooked on a heated iron sheet and cut up and mixed with ingredients using metal blades.
“This is an exciting new step for us because it is our first ever restaurant unit.”
Star dish: Shish taouk which is charcoal grilled chicken marinated with dressing
A spokesman said: “As is the culture in Lebanon, tapas is all about sharing. Our menu is built on allowing guests to share healthy and tasty Lebanese authentic food.
“Our meat is cooked over a charcoal grill and sprinkled with herbs, to give it a natural taste and flavour”.
Les Deux Amies
Traditional French galettes (cakes) and crepes
Star dish: Karamellou – salted butter caramel sauce and almonds on a crepe
This is the first shop for friends Caroline Remy and Adeline De Boismenu who met 10 years ago in their native France and now live in the UK. They have been catering since 2014.
The recipe for the batter is from the grandmother of a parent’s friend, who runs a creperie in North Brittany.
Adeline said: “We have been testing our products for different markets. We are really excited because it’s our first [shop] and hopefully we will get a few more in the next few years.”
Beijing street food including handmade dumplings, noodle soups and snacks
Star dish: Boiled dumplings with either king prawns, pork, beef or a vegan option of mushroom, spinach and vermicelli.
Ning Ma, owner, said: “The recipes for our Beijing dumplings, hearty noodle soups, noodle salads and snacks have been handed down from my granddad. He used to run a market stall in Beijing with my mum.
“This is our sixth restaurant. I started Mamalan as a supper club in my living room. The name came from my mum, her first name is Lan and as she is the person who taught me how to cook the dishes we are serving, I’ve name it after her.”
American style burgers, hot dogs, cheese fries
Star dish: Dead Hippie burger – two French’s mustard-fried beef patties, Dead Hippie sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and minced white onions
The cult burger joint has the largest unit at Boxpark Croydon. It is also MEATLiquor’s biggest restaurant to date with space to seat between 170-190 people.
Tom Weldon, assistant manager, said each branch is unique to its destination and for Croydon they have gone for a “festival vibe”.
Mr Weldon said: “It’s great, it’s exciting. It’s the biggest restaurant we have ever done. We are loving being part of Croydon and Boxpark.”
MEATLiquor has its largest restaurant to date in Boxpark Croydon
Antipodean-style café serving brunches and artisan coffee
Star dish: Corn fritter stack served with avocado and chilli jam
Owner Ian Owen said: “We make speciality coffee using Ozone beans in the antipodean-style, which is how coffee is brewed in New Zealand and Australia.
“There coffee is served stronger and in smaller amounts. It is how it was intended to be enjoyed.
“Our mission is to bring this style of coffee to Croydon and differentiate ourselves from the big-name chains which serve milk-filled cups.
“At our Tooting café we are famous for our brunches as well and it is not uncommon to have queues of people out the door.”
Guyanese Roti House
Star dish: Pork pepperpot which can either be served in a roti [flat bread] or with rice.
Sam Kohn, co-owner, said: “This is our first ever restaurant, up until now we’ve either had stalls at markets or festivals.
“We were looking for a permanent base and the option here in Croydon was the most exciting opportunity we had for seven days a week.
“Our customers can see their whole meal prepared right in front of their eyes. We make and cook the roti and then fill it with their choice of the array of pickles and salsas we have.
“We have also teamed up with Signal, a Croydon microbrewery, to server their beer.”
Customers at Nanny Outars can watch their food be prepared in front of them
Chips that are so fresh you can watch them the potatoes get peeled in front of you. They sell classic chips and cheesy chips
Star dish: “Lucifer” which is freshly cut British potato, dashed in rosemary, thyme, and garlic, loaded with Cheddar and Red Leicester cheese and finished with a spicy paprika sauca.
Co-owner Marco Maiocchi said: “It’s amazing [to be in Boxpark].
“Everybody is doing something completely different and that’s incredible.
“Everyone likes chips so I have had many people ask for another portion. It is a good product because it’s suitable for all religions, gluten free, vegans and vegetarians.”
Chips as you have never tasted them before
The Potato Project
Jacket potatoes – either regular spuds or sweet potatoes – with a wide variety of toppings
Star dish: Sweet potato with Chipotle braised lamb, lime, mint and spicy cranberry salsa.
Ksenia Karpenko, is selling “sexy” gourmet jacket potatoes and said: “I am offering something that is healthy and fresh. Something that is an adventure and you have never tried anything like it before”
Ksenia Karpenko is taking the humble jacket potato to a whole new level
Thai cuisine with gluten free, vegetarian and halal options
Star dish: Pad Thai, with a choice of shrimps, beef, chicken, vegetable, tofu or fish. Thin rice noodles stir-friend with sweet and sour sauce, eggs, bean sprouts, green onion and salted radish.
Uzma Pattani, co-owner, said: “Thai Express have over 300 restaurants across the world in Canada, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“When we heard about Boxpark we just knew we had to come.
“The Boxpark in Shoreditch is the baby one compared to the one here in Croydon. This one is the daddy.
“Our restaurant is about serving quick fresh food, a lot people think Thai food is spicy but it isn’t, and we have separate sauces and limes that people can use to add to their food after it is made.”
Customers can add sauces to their meals to decide how spicy they want it
Wine & Deli
The team behind Brgr&Beer, the popular pop-up in Matthews Yard set up by three former Archbishop Lanfranc pupils (Adam Jackowski, Daniel Esteban and Tom Yip) are branching out with a wine bar and deli.
Star dish: Coca Cola chicken wings
Mr Jackowski said: “People don’t need to worry about this being a poncey, stiff wine bar.
“We’ve got dishes we cannot wait for people to try our Coca Cola chicken wings. What we are also looking forward to serving people bavette, which is a cut of steak which has heaps of flavour and stays moist from the marinade, and charcuterie and cheese.”
The Wine&Deli team also run Brgr&Beer in Matthews Yard
Signature British food with a modern twist, well-known puddings and cocktails
Star drink and dish: The Bramble cocktail, including Barcadi rum with the homemade on site berry puree, topped with lemonade. The star pudding is the apple tart tatin.
One of the crown jewels in South Croydon’s restaurant quarter is Yumn Brasserie, serving food inspired by classic French cuisine with influences from India and America as well.
The cocktails they sell are so popular that its bar/restaurant in Boxpark has a focus on this while serving up to five main dishes, sharing platters and desserts.
General manager Faisal Hussain said: “We jumped at the chance to be a part of Boxpark. The customers [in South Croydon] have reacted so well to our cocktails so we thought we would offer a cocktail bar.
“We are also known for our desserts and we make them all in-house.”