You’ve got a load of surplus shipping containers and a small space in East London, what do you do with that lot? Build a collection of bars, restaurants and shops – obviously! This is Boxpark, a concept native to Croydon, Brixton and Shoreditch. A space for pop-up and permanent vendors of quality food and fashion from all corners of the globe right here in London.
On a previous visit to the capital we had ventured south to Brixton. The shipping container mecca there is called ‘Pop Brixton’ which is exactly the same format as the site we were due to visit at Shoreditch. A brisk 15 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station down Bishopsgate, you can’t miss the black and white advertising boards surrounding the park.
Entry to Boxpark was a little confusing at first, we walked around expecting to just walk down the centre of the containers and then up the stairs but as it turns out, all the good stuff is upstairs. Take the metal stairs up the side where you have security on hand at the top to check any bags.
On a sunny evening like this, there’s really no better place to come and chill out, even if the music was a little on the loud side. Many people celebrating the start of the weekend were sitting on the communal benches sipping pints of lager and jugs of Pimms. The vibe here is a cool one, very much loved by the younger generation.
We ended up towards the entrance to the park. There, we had a choice between two chicken places. Coqfighter, a restaurant serving Asian inspired chicken or Rudies, serving Jerk Chicken, Jamaican style.
In the end, Coqfighter’s menu of Korean wings and fried chicken bao’s won me over, two of my absolute favourites – plus they had a quiet restaurant with beer on tap, escaping the mass queue at the main bar area. We headed in to place our order.
For £9 ($11.88US), you get a portion of two fried chicken bao’s – fried chicken, pickled daikon and mayonnaise all wrapped up in a steamed bun. The wings you order by units. We went for a 5 piece set of fried Korean wings coming to £6.50 ($8.58US).
The restaurant was a nice escape from the loud decking area where the beat goes on long into the night. We ordered two pints of Pils beer and perched ourselves on stools near the counter. The beers were very good and provided much needed refreshment as the heat continued to rise.
Our food arrived in good time looking very smart indeed. The bao’s were a very generous portion – stuffed to the gills with chicken and accompaniments. The wings came with two sauces and a paintbrush, enabling us to release our inner artist.
I took my first bite of the bao and it was a cracker! Crispy chicken, juicy too seemingly from the thigh rather than the breast. The daikon added that nice acidity with the mayo slightly spiced to bring everything together. I would definitely recommend ordering this.
That was good, but the wings, oh my god the wings. The sauces are a chilli based sauce and kind of a sweet, soy glaze sauce. Slather both on your wing of choice and don’t look back. These were perfect. Shame on Coqfighter for doing odd numbers because it really does encourage conflict over who gets the last one. Perfectly crispy and incredibly moreish.
The meal that we had was first rate and gave an insight as to why Boxpark has become so popular. I did feel though that the selection on offer was a little more limited compared to Pop Brixton but what was there did look good and at a fair price for London.
With that, we headed off back down the stairs and around the corner to another of Shoreditch’s favourite food hangouts, Dinearama. This area really is superb if you’re hungry and want a relaxing, casual experience. We wouldn’t hesitate to return to Boxpark, especially for those wings!
Opening Times: Monday-Saturday 1100-2300
Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street (Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan lines)