Hornchurch couple 'elevated nostalgic favourite food’ to create Nugs


Reis Esiroglu and Charley Fairbrother launched Nugs in May 2020 - Credit: Nugs

A Hornchurch couple have created a business centred around their “nostalgic favourite food” – nuggets.  

Reis Esiroglu, 28, and Charley Fairbrother, 32, launched Nugs in May 2020 from Reis’ parent’s back garden, equipped with two “tiny fryers from Asda”,  he said.  

Two years later it has gone on to be named the best takeaway at the first Havering Small Business Awards.

The pair and their families are all passionate foodies; Reis' family have owned Turkish restaurant Kusadasi Taverna in Rainham for around 32 years and Charley’s dad, who is now a builder, was formerly a chef. 

Through his work, most recently as an events manager at a record label, Reis said he gained insight into street food concepts and “loved the idea” of combining his love for festivals, music and events with his "love for food”.  

“One day it hit me," he said. "I thought, why is no one doing nuggets?  

“You’ve got McDonald’s and big chains that sell them on menu but it was never the unique selling point.”  


Nugs' nuggets are coated in a 'secretly seasoned gluten-free buttermilk coating' - Credit: Nugs

Having had his eureka moment, Reis was pleased to find his and Charley’s family and friends were enthusiastic about the idea.  

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He said: “We fleshed out the concept and we knew we were onto a winner."  

Reis initially planned for Nugs to be an “external outdoor catering concept” where he travelled the country and cooked at different festivals, utilising his contacts in the industry.  

But at the start of 2020, Reis lost his job due to the pandemic and began looking for “a way to get money and survive”.  

He said: “It took Charley to give me a kick up the backside and say ‘why don’t you try Nugs from home?'”  

At the time, the pair lived with Reis’ parents and began cooking and delivering Nugs from their back garden in May 2020.  

The duo “kept selling out”, said Reis.  


Reis believes Nugs offers food 'food that is easy to eat and for everyone' - Credit: Nugs

He added: “It was amazing, we were getting really positive feedback and gaining a great customer base."  

But he admitted “cooking a bunch of fried chicken in my mum’s back garden wasn’t ideal”.  

In June that year they found kitchen space at The Rising Sun Pub in Hornchurch, where the owners gave them the first three months for free, which Reis and Charley remain grateful for.  

Nugs’ menu remains available at the pub, where the branch manager is David O’Neill. 

Reis said: “We built up a really good friendly vibe and culture from that Hornchurch kitchen, while honing in on our craft." 

Nugs is set to open a second location in Wapping in Love, Pub and Grub – an outdoor pub experience – where it will be the main food provider this summer and into next year.  

Reis said they will also operate delivery and takeaway from the venue - allowing Nugs to cover “the whole of east London” - and will dish up food at many events this year, including at the Commonwealth Games.  

Chicken Burger

Burgers and wraps are also on the menu - Credit: Nugs

The 28-year-old said Nugs is "elevating" nuggets - a "nostalgic favourite food from when we were younger”.

Nugs' offerings are mostly halal and coated in a “secretly seasoned" gluten-free buttermilk coating, which Reis said is because his mum and Charley have problems eating gluten.  

Vegetarians and vegans are also catered for, with menu items including the cauli-power nug and halloumi nuggets. 

But Reis said he is “addicted” to the buffalo solider nuggets and badboy buffalo burger as he “can’t get enough of the sauce”. 

The pair have recently launched a “nug of the month”, which is currently a garlic parmesan nugget, and are on the lookout for a charity to which they can donate leftover food.  

Reis said: “We’re always trying to get involved in the community.  

“We want to be synonymous with the area and become a big part of the community.” 

Nugs hopes to next open a site in the Brentwood area.