Local Heroes is our series where we expand the people, small businesses and neighborhoods that make London great, and now it’s the fishmongers of Hackney Fin and Flounder. Owned by Brendan O’Sullivan and based on Broadway Market, the store sells the highest quality fish and seafood and prides itself on traceability and sustainability – they care about the origin of their fish and the way it was fished and it shows. As Brendan states, “I am responsible for purchasing every fish, oyster and shell that is sold in our beautiful little shop and if it doesn’t reach the quality, we don’t sell it. I never stop looking for better.
Although part of a family of food lovers, working in the food industry was always just a thing in the sky for Brendan. “During Sunday lunch my kids would often say, ‘You should go to MasterChef Dad’, and of course I should have, after all, I can cook a roast!” he says. “We were discussing business ideas, all related to food and most of them were ridiculous, but the word ‘fishmonger’ came up and it was there, or at least I thought it was. Brendan went looking for a store in Brodway Market to house a fishmonger business and saw that Fin and Flounder was already under construction.
However, in 2014, while working in construction, he noticed that Fin and Flounder was for sale. “Looking in every real estate agent window was part of my job. As I peeked into the window of Urban Estates there, the Fin and Flounder was for sale, ”says Brendan. “It was like I had won the lottery and so the journey began.” From there he plunged headfirst into the world of fish, working undercover at Fin and Flounder while the sale went on. “I am a seller by nature and the atmosphere of this little shop made me feel so alive. It was fast, a lot of fun, hard work, money was going into the cash register and there was a potential for a hundred million miles. I studied business inside and out, visited fishmongers and markets in London and around the world. I quickly confessed to the men who worked in the store, that I would soon be their boss. Some stayed, some ran, but I learned a lot from them, ”he says.
In November 2015, Fin and Flounder was officially owned by Brendan and since then he has established him as one of London’s top fishmongers. “We are really proud of what has been achieved in six years. Our wholesale business has served Brats, Brawn, The Marksman, Morito, Rochelle, Lyle’s, Ombra, The Waterhouse Project, in fact it’s easier to say all the great restaurants in East London have us used at some point, ”he says. “The street food in the Broadway Market has been amazing. Our lobster rolls and carabinero croquettes were so well received, it’s just the icing on the cake. And being known for the freshest oysters of the day in our little bar outside the open store while you wait for your fish, it’s straightforward service that makes people happy.
The pandemic, like it has done for almost every other business, has had a big impact on Fin and Flounder, but they’ve managed to ride the wave. When restaurants were forced to shut down the client side of the business, as Brendan explains, “because of the present time, premium fish like turbot, John Dory and the like have become cheaper, c so it’s great to hear the children of Hackney ask for it. tea. Spaghetti with turbot and alphabet will be on the menu. Then, when restaurant meals were allowed again, take-out food declined, but the wholesale side of the operation re-opened. “It’s amazing to think that almost all of the chefs who have shopped with us through the many locks, we now provide almost all of them in their restaurants,” Brendan says.
He also took the opportunity to adapt the business, taking advantage of the disruption of transport links, “we decided that by driving our refrigerated van to the deepest part of Cornwall almost daily to meet the fishermen at the dock, we could create our own supply chain by bringing in amazing fish. straight to our door. This continues to be the reason why 2020 has been a great year for us and 2021 is going to be better. We are certainly among the lucky ones, ”he says.
Fin and Flounder is an integral part of Broadway Market and it’s clear Brendan wouldn’t have it otherwise, “a beautiful market street in a diverse community where the groovy gang is slowly starting to be accepted by locals and with a nice parking lot. at one end. Where would you like the fishmongers you love with all your might to be?
71 Broadway Market, London, E8 4PH