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Inside Britain’s best fish and chip shop run by same man for 45 years

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Inside Britain’s best fish and chip shop run by same man for 45 years

Gus Mustafa brixton fish lounge

Fish Lounge in Brixton Hill, south London was this week named as the nation’s joint best fish and chip shop (Image: SWNS)

The owner of ‘Britain’s best chippy’ says freshness is the key to success – and customers agree.

Fish Lounge in Brixton Hill, south London was this week named as the nation’s joint best fish and chip shop.

Owner Gus Mustafa, who has been frying in the capital for 45 years, welcomed the result on Thursday, April 25.

Loyal fans say they love the community feel and the consistent quality of the food.

The Fish Lounge was ranked alongside East Coast, a chippie in the coastal Scottish city of Musselburgh.

brixton fish lounge

SWNS_FISH_AND_CHIPS_01.jpg (Image: SWNS)

Gus, 62, said: “I’ve been doing fish and chips since around 1980.

“I started with my parents around the end of 1979 at a shop in Clapton and, apart from one-or-two-year gaps here and there, I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Gus’ Cypriot father moved to Britain in the 1950s and began working at a family chip shop around a decade later.

He and his family have since worked in and owned around seven chippies across London, but Fish Lounge is the first he has run with his wife, Ulgen Mustafa.

Gus, a dad-of-two, said: “I like the job. It has come from my mum and dad and I have taken it on and made a good living out of it.

Gus Mustafa brixton fish lounge

Gus has been frying since 1979 (Image: SWNS)

“It’s rewarding when people say, ‘We really enjoyed that’. It makes me feel happy. We love what we do – we have a passion for it.”

Despite having won awards in the past, Gus added that this was ‘bigger’ as it had come ‘from the customers’.

He revealed that one of the secrets to his cook-to-order food is regularly changing the oil in the fryer to keep it fresh.

Gus said: “There’s a big difference in taste. The batter has to be nice and crispy, that’s very important.

“Things have changed for the better from when I started; the machines have got more efficient.

“Fish and chips is traditional, and it’s healthier than a lot of processed foods. It’s fresh fish, fresh potatoes and nothing frozen or processed. That’s the difference.”

Gus, who was born in Lewisham in southeast London, says his fashion student daughter even comes to help her parents on Fridays – their busiest night of the week.

brixton fish lounge customers

Sisters Deirdre and Mary are regulars (Image: SWNS)

And in their eight years serving the Brixton Hill area, Fish Lounge has gained quite a reputation – including among famous local faces.

Rapper 21 Savage has visited before with his mum, who apparently lives nearby, as well as Northern Irish film and television actor Michael Smiley.

Signed photos of Welsh actor Michael Sheen and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery adorn the walls behind the counter.

Fish Lounge is popular with ‘regular’ customers too.

Sisters Deirdre and Mary, who live in nearby Elephant and Castle towards the Thames, admit they hardly ever eat fish and chips anymore as the ones near them have ‘gone downhill’.

Having been looking after someone in the Brixton area recently, though, they have developed a habit of stopping in for a meal at Fish Lounge.

“We’re regulars here now,” Deirdre said. “It’s much better here than any fish and chip shop in Elephant and Castle.

“The top ranking is definitely well-deserved. Everything is always fresh.”

brixton fish lounge

Customers couldn’t be happier for the chippy (Image: SWNS)

Natalie Smith, another regular who has been stopping in to enjoy her cod bits and chips for around five years now, agreed that their new accolade was well-deserved.

“This is the only fish and chip shop I come to in this area,” the 30-year-old said.

“Gus knows your name and he’s very helpful and polite. He knows your order as well and is very much a part of the community.

“It’s always fresh and never greasy or anything like that. And it’s like that all the time, it’s not hit and miss: every time you come the food and the service is wonderful. They deserve it.”

And, on the widely-held belief that fish and chips are better by the seaside, Gus said: “Ours is just as good as down by the beach.

“I have the most lovely regular customers, so thanks to them for their good reviews.”

Fish Lounge was ranked joint top in a survey by gambling company Betway. It did this by gathering data from Google, TripAdvisor and Instagram.

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