Lazeez Tapas has opened a version of their original Lebanese restaurant on London’s Duke Street in the form of Lazeez Boxpark, a new format small kitchen designed to serve customers in a rush whilst offering the freshness and quality of a large kitchen. It is part of the new food and drinks site ‘Boxpark Croydon’ which hosts around 80 shipping containers that big names, as well as smaller independent ones, have brought their vibrant menus to.
Boxpark Croydon, situated in Ruskin Square, focuses primarily on the drinks and dining experience unlike its predecessor in Shoreditch. It features 35 independent food outlets as well as big brand names, creating a truly unique dining experience. This gives customers a wide variety of options to choose from which range from Beijing street food at Mamalan to Lazeez Tapas’ Lebanese cuisine.
With a capacity for 2,000, Boxpark Croydon opened to the public on 29th October with its two day opening festival in partnership with Eskimo Dance and NME. The site hosted a daily events programme including weekly markets, workshops and master classes as well as launch parties and special shows.
Lazeez Tapas’ CEO Emilio Malik was approached by the owners of Boxpark in November 2015, “we were asked if we would be interested in coming to Boxpark Croydon and we couldn’t say no.”
The overall design for the boxpark unit was created by Lazeez Tapas’ in-house designers in December 2015 and the idea was to create quite a rustic, natural looking restaurant. J D Interiors and Advance Group worked together over the summer to ensure the fit-out, which began on 26th September, would be done in the short time they had. “It was a very tight schedule for when we were allowed to get on site to having to handover for completion,” commented David Balls, Contract Director at J D Interiors, “we were also limited on width as the container is only 8ft wide.”
With very simple and exposed woodwork that includes the flooring and walling as well as the use of metro tiles and metal framed menus, the 40ft chipping container is a unique offering. “The way it’s been designed is the kitchen sits at the back of the unit and we’ve separated the kitchen from the communal area with the main service bar and seating area,” added David. The kitchen, designed and fitted by Advance Group along side Luke Boxall
“Bespoke LED lighting is used in the ceiling, lighting the interior as there’s no natural light so we had to make sure there was light going all the way through the space.” In the main area of the restaurant there is timber and raw iron metalwork with the metro tiling used as a design feature on the lower right wall which contains stamp themed vinyl wallpaper. The kitchen area also features a lot of stainless steel.
The exterior of the shipping container keeps with the effortless design theme as it is painted black with a simple white signage on the outside done by Boxpark themselves. The restaurant, due to its size, has limited seating inside but all their food is served in their branded take away packaging so diners can enjoy it on the move or take back home or to the office. They also hope to serve the Croydon area with Lebanese food using Deilveroo and Ubereats, who they have a great relationship with at their Mayfair site, for those who cannot visit Boxpark.
Lazeez Boxpark’s menu offers a ‘simple Downtown Beirut menu’ and serves 11 covers internally but can produce around 60 covers in total, which includes takeaway. The menu is built to let diners share healthy and tasty Lebanese food which includes freshly made hummus, falafels, salads, wraps and grills. Using fresh ingredients imported from Lebanon and meat, vegetables and herbs sourced locally, there is no expense spared in ensuring their food is of a high standard. To give the twice daily on-site marinated Halal meat a natural taste and flavour, it is rubbed with herbs and grilled to perfection and it will be supplied daily by Tariq Halal Meat. Fresh juice is served alongside Lebanese beer and wine.
Even though the design of the restaurant was fairly simple, it was not without its challenges. “The biggest challenge was the tight schedule and trying to get all of the different trade groups in the small space. Big restaurant’s allow trades to work around each other but because of the tight space and narrowness of this unit, we’ve obviously had to squeeze them into the one small space. But after making sure everyone followed the schedule and the plan, it ran relatively smoothly,” added David, “It was a very unique opportunity to work on something that doesn’t come up that often.”
A third site for Lazeez Tapas will be announced in December.
Lazeez Lebanese Tapas Ltd
29 Duke Street
0207 935 2755
Lazeez Lebanese Tapas
99 George Street
0203 873 2764