My Chrisp Street Series
Razia Khatun, Medina Bazar
Introducing the second instalment of our ‘My Chrisp Street’ series; which aims to tell the story of Chrisp Street through the voices of the people and businesses that make this iconic institution what it is.
This month we spoke to Razia Khatun, who owns Medina Bazar. Medina Bazar is a grocery store located at 17 Market Way. The store specialises in catering for the local South Asian community, selling mainly Bangladeshi products, however, also includes rice and spices, halal products such as meats and poultry, fish and snacks and fresh vegetables from the tables at the front of the store.
Razia describes the local area as largely unchanged since she opened the store in 2012, but the impact of lockdown has been difficult: “It’s been especially tough over the last year, a few shops have closed due to the pandemic, but a few larger brands and companies have arrived into the area, introducing younger generations to Chrisp Street.”
Medina Bazar has settled in well at Chrisp Street, building a portfolio of regular and loyal customers. Local residents have come to trust Razia and the business to deliver quality products and a tailored service right on their doorstep.
Razia feels positively about the regeneration of Chrisp Street. “As new businesses come into the area, this can only bring new customers and fresh faces into the market. The regeneration will give the marketplace a great facelift, creating a brighter, cleaner and safer place for locals to spend time in and support the businesses that make Chrisp Street what it is. Establishing a nightlife into the area will also help bring in younger people that can continue to use the market for years to come and help increase footfall.”
My Chrisp Street Series - February
Brian Boulter, Eastenders Pie & Mash
Welcome to the first instalment of our ‘My Chrisp Street’ series, which aims to tell the story of Chrisp Street through the voices of the people and businesses that give this iconic institution it’s vibrant and unique identity.
This month, we spoke to Brian Boulter of Eastenders Pie & Mash. Having first opened over 50 years ago, with various owners and name changes throughout the years, the shop has been feeding hungry locals for over half a century with its classic East End combination of traditional pie, mash and eels. The shop prides itself on serving fresh food with the meat for the pie’s sourced from Smithfield Market and everything including the liquor and mash made fresh in the shop daily.
The shop has stayed true to its original recipe over the years, with the pie and mash available now almost identical to that which was served when it first opened, to cater for the lunchtime rush of locals frequenting the area; “With the bustling London Docks on our doorstep the area was busier back then. We now have a lot more diversity in our customers and have adapted the menu slightly to cater for the changing demographics - offering more options including vegetarian and vegan pies. Plus nowadays people are more aware of what they’re eating and the younger generation is increasingly more health-conscious than ever before; but we’ve found that as long as we stick to tradition in offering a tasty, wholesome, filling and healthy meal for a very reasonable price the customers will keep coming back”
Brian took over the business from a retiring friend and has just recently handed the reins over to his son David, who returned home from Norway last year. Having lived in the area all of his life, Brian is an East Londoner through and through and Chrisp Street and the Poplar district hold a special place in his heart. “We’ve been here since the mid-70s and I was born in Canning Town, so I know the local area very well. I have great memories of the area as a kid and it’s definitely changed over the years, but it’s been nice to see the old traditions and the spirit of the area remain. Businesses have to adapt to these changes and have something to offer to the new people coming into the area, which is why the development is such a positive.”
Brian is hopeful that the ongoing regeneration of Chrisp Street, which will see new homes and amenities, will attract new types of customers: “For the market, it’s a case of the businesses working together to help everyone get back on their feet, after the last year. The development will bring some new life into the area with more people moving here. A new location for the shop along with outside seating and other food options nearby will hopefully entice people to the market on a regular basis”.
Starting onsite in Summer 2021, the regeneration of Chrisp Street by London developer Telford Homes will include the construction of 649 new homes with an updated market and retail space.