Chef King Cook — King Senathit — announced the closure of the Shoreditch site last month, promising a new restaurant for 2019 and the space to improve merchandise output. Cook also wished to escape the constraints of the Boxpark shipping container complex: it remains to be seen whether his new site, in a railway arch on Westgate Street, will afford the flexibility sought.
The restaurant opened on 27 October, serving the eclectic menu — meat substitutes as well as tofu and vegetables — that earned the Shoreditch and Croydon sites a devoted following. Cook’s dishes span English-style breakfast, Thai-inspired curries, Jamaican traditions, and Japanese udon noodles, but there is little sense of the clumsy misappropriation that can hamper similar endeavours, despite the existence of a bowl named ‘Yoga Fire’ on the menu.
That devoted following is largely driven by social media: Cook has told the Guardian that “all it takes is (prominent grime artist) JME to tweet and say ‘I’m at Cook Daily’ and I’ve got 50 young boys in here.” His idea of a “London eating culture that just happens to be vegan” is designed to encourage Londoners challenged, or intimidated by prominent, predominantly white veganism to find somewhere that provides kinship as well as food. “They think vegan means white, middle class [...] but I hope I challenge that. It’s just about making them know: bruv, I wasn’t born vegan, I don’t really know anyone that was born vegan. We’re in the same boat.”