'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers

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Everyone has their favourite local chippy.

You just walk to your closest high street and follow the delectable aroma of fried fish in crispy batter, entangled with the fresh scent of chunky potatoes sizzling in intensely hot oil.

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To some of us fish and chips is well, just fish and chips – a delicious and timely meal that hits the spot like no other.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon The fish and chip shop in Chingford, East London was founded in 1929

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But how many of us can brag about bumping into an international football sensation, or rubbing shoulders with the cast of The Only Way Is Essex while popping into our local chippy?

To the ordinary eye, Fish & Chicken in Chingford, East London is a traditional fish and chip shop.

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From the door, you can feast your eyes on incredible sights of chunky hot chips, bulking saveloys, mouth-watering fried chicken and larger-than-life sized fish in crispy aromatic batter.

But Cagdas Bulbul, 26, who co-owns and lives above the shop with his brother Tuncay, has explained that its importance to his family is akin to their DNA.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon Brothers Cagdas and Tuncay Bulbul own and manage Fish & Chicken. They are pictured here taking a brief break with a customer

“This has been a chip shop for almost 100 years” he beamed.

“The council told me this shop was registered as a fish and chip shop back in 1929. There is a lot of history contained in this building.”

“My dad has been a chippy man since the early 80s. He came to Chingford in the early 2000s, bought the shop and after 30 years of frying fish, he retired and left the shop to my brother and I.”

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon Bulking saveloys, mouth-watering fried chicken and larger-than-life sized fish in crispy aromatic batter are on the menu

However, Cagdas took an alternative route into the family business. “I could’ve done whatever I wanted as I went to uni and got a law degree” he said.

“We are from Turkey, but we’re Kurdish, and the way I was raised, if you see your father grafting for 30 years, as first generation children we don’t feel like we have the luxury to dismiss the shop.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon Tuncay Bulbul, the co-owner of Fish & Chicken in East London, is pictured here with David Beckham during one of his many visits to the chip shop

Cagdas spoke like a man wise beyond his 20-something odd years.

“It’s out of respect. You just pick up where your father left off. Maybe my kids can do something else.”

An emblem of the fish and chip shop’s rich history is its superstar status. Behind the food counter, a picturesque wall is adorned with photos of a select number of celebrities that have graced the shop through the years.

Yet, Fish & Chicken is unique, not only for its famous photo collage, but for the fact that it counts these celebrities as loyal customers that continue to return to the eatery through the years.

A-lister David Beckham is photographed with the Bulbul family and their staff on three different occasions. But this is no indication of how many times the star has treated himself to a chippy fry-up at the Chingford store.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon David Beckham and his son Cruz rocked up to the chippy in 2016

“We don’t take photos of every celebrity that comes here as we don’t want that aspect of it to takeover the essence of our shop” said Cagdas.

With suppressed excitement, he added: “We’ve served Beckham and his family countless times. David grew up in the area and I’ve got a lot of customers that went to school with him.”

“He was more than happy to take pictures whenever he came here. We haven’t seen him since the pandemic though, but his parents always pop in.”

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon The chippy is clearly a favourite of Beckham’s

David Beckham was born in East London and went to secondary school in Chingford. Global fame has done nothing to keep him away from his one-time local chippy.

“Chipmunk is also a regular” continued Cagdas.

“At one point he was here too much” he said jokingly.

“I don’t know why he mentions a Tottenham chicken shop in his songs when he was here all the time” he said with a slight chuckle.

“We serve his dad too. At least once a week and his family comes here too.”

Other notable mentions include Shaun Escoffery, a fellow Londoner and RnB singer.

His brother Tuncay coyly spoke from behind the counter to remind his younger brother of other famous people they’ve served recently.

“We’ve met the TOWIE cast before” said Tuncay.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon Tuncay Bulbul, the co-owner of Fish & Chicken in East London, is pictured here with David Beckham during one of his many visits to the chip shop

“A few months back they came in after shooting at the 5-a-side down the road. Three of them came in with their manager and picked up about 200 quid worth of fish and chips.

“I’ve also seen some guys from TV, they were from EastEnders I think. But I don’t know their names, I don’t keep up to date. My brother is better with all of that” he happily admitted.

Cagdas quickly turned the conversation back to business. It is no wonder that the brothers are successful and well-loved. Their mixture of keen focus and boyish humility have kept the business afloat, even through tough times.

“We got so busy during the first lockdown in March” said Cagdas.

“Everyone missed us so we couldn’t even shut for more than three weeks. Everywhere I went, I’d spot a customer asking me when I was going to open the shop.”

“We only sell fish and chips. We don’t do anything else. We don’t know anything else.”

“But we have been consistent. The family has used the same potato supplier for 30 years.

'The best I've tasted in 2 decades': East London fish & chip shop where David Beckham, TOWIE stars and Chipmunk are customers
© MyLondon Fish & Chicken’s photo hall of fame

“And we keep it in the family. We only have a select number of staff. My aunt works here, my girlfriend has worked here at some point and only a handful of staff are non-family.”

“But we treat everyone like family. Even our customers, We’re open from 11:30am to 10pm but that doesn’t mean our customers can’t come in earlier or later.”

Alan, who has lived on Chingford Mount road for 20 years popped in for a spot of lunch. He said Fish & Chicken was “the best” chippy he’d tasted in two decades.

“I really like their cod” he said ecstatically.

“I’ve been coming here for over 20 years. I moved to Chingford in 2002. Many other chippies have come and gone but I’ve stayed here. This is the best.

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