The best vegan pad thai in London
Every time I eat at one of King Cook’s eateries in Shoreditch‘s Box Park, I am left with the delicious lingering joy that accompanies an amazing meal.
I’ve been a fan of this guy’s food for some time, but while I’ve visited King Cook Daily many times (and recommend everything I have tried from the menu, especially the Hard Bowl) I didn’t visit his other place-Home-until quite recently.
I’m not sure why: possibly because I went to King Cook first, and it’s a bit of a wrench not to eat there if you’re in the vicinity.
Anyway, I was talking to the man himself about the launch of his new sauce-High Grade-you have to buy this stuff, it’s incredible and helps you recreate his awesome food at home. After a chat, he offered me lunch, and I was going to go for my usual Hard Bowl when he suggested I try the pad thai at Home.
This guy is the real deal when it comes to being a chef. He lights up when he talks about food, cooking techniques, global dishes. It’s exciting to talk to him about life in the kitchen. A classically-trained chef, he’s done his time in the high end places, and is clearly rigorous and disciplined when it comes to professional cooking.
We are lucky to have him in the vegan corner. He pushes a strong ethic (“I’m not plant-based, I’m vegan,”) with his #nobloodnobones hashtag and merchandise. There are usually queues out of his eateries (and not because the service is slow. It’s not: it’s fresh food all cooked to order-and really quickly too). King calls it ‘vegan grub’- fresh, perfect flavours that work well, real food in hearty portions. You often see the odd famous face knocking around his joints too. And the reason? Ultimately, it’s all about the food.
King Cook’s pad thai…it’s one of those meals you eat then call a few friends to plan lunch dates. One of those dishes that’s so good you’re secretly proud of yourself when your friends eat it and can’t stop themselves from beaming with joy, inviting their friends.
It’s a classic noodle plate, packed with veg, topped with crushed peanuts and a wedge of lime, flavoured with tamarind and doused in King’s homemade vegan ‘fish’ sauce. You don’t miss out on the egg in the original dish as it’s recreated with tofu. You can choose from a number of ‘mock meats’ (the chicken is popular) but my favourite is the tofu. It’s always cooked to perfection which is rare. You need technique and knowledge to hammer out perfect tofu every time.
It doesn’t hurt that you can buy an amazing Sea Shepherd beer to wash this down with-or that there’s a classic arcade game to while away more time. There’s a lot of really good vegan food in east London-but these places are currently topping the bill.