1. 081 Pizzeria (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
    Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
  2. 081 Pizzeria (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
    Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
  3. 081 Pizzeria (Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
    Nic Crilly-Hargrave
  4. 081 Pizzeria (Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave)
    Photograph: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
  • Restaurants | Italian
  • Warren Street
  • Recommended


081 Pizzeria

4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

Unless you’ve been living under a massive arancini ball, you’ll know that sourdough, neapolitan pizza is all the rage these days. And with good reason: it’s proper, authentic Italian comfort food, which 081 Pizzeria serves up to near perfection.

Its original branch is a street-food set up in Peckham Levels. Now, it’s added a cosy new spot in Fitzrovia (inside Smuggler’s Tavern on Warren Street), which moves it into more refined terrain, offering a selection of hand-crafted Neapolitan pizzas and Napoli-inspired tapas dishes.

A red neon sign on the wall reads: ‘Pizza is a very serious thing.’ I couldn’t agree more. And 081 wasn’t lying when they drilled that sign into the wall. The menu expertly delivers on honest, Italian comfort food, brimming with small plates and inventive pizzas served up in cosy surroundings that make you feel like you’re having dinner at a talented neighbour’s house.

For starters, the courgette flower was a mouthwatering, crispy delight, stuffed with ricotta and smoked mozzarella cased in a deep fried tempura shell, served on a bed of asparagus cream — a tasty, textural dream. But the aubergine parmigiana was the showstopper of the antipasti. Made with slices of velvety, slow-cooked, melt-in-the-mouth aubergine, smothered with cheese and tomato sauce sandwiched in a delicious salty, deep fried Sicilian dough, it was a delectable warmup.

Now for the pizza, which we know by now is serious business. The composition of the house pizza — the 081 — was almost perfect. It was an expertly pimped up margarita, with a paper-thin base that culminates in a thick, airy crust, topped with a generous helping of pillowy discs of juicy DOP mozzarella di bufala. The parmigiana pizza was more exciting, though, made with the same silky aubergine from before, which was so brilliantly smokey that my friend mistook it for meat. If you frequent London’s many pizza spots, you’ll know by now that the crust dip is having a moment. 081’s pesto dip was a special one, sweet, tangy and herby. And, in all honesty, the crust became a mere vessel for shovelling down this creamy sauce.

The one fatal flaw of 081’s neapolitan pizza, however, is that it got cold incredibly quickly, and the pizza had lost its temperature before I could finish it. This is characteristic of a thin neapolitan base, though, so I can’t be too picky here.

Satisfying as these pizzas were, the pistachio doughnuts for dessert stole the entire show. They sounded relatively straightforward: a bowl of three steaming doughnuts, made out of the same salty Italian deep fried dough consumed at antipasti time, smothered in crunchy, sweet sugar and injected with creamy Sicilian pistachio cream. Simple, but it’s truly a religious experience. On each bite, the pistachio sauce oozed out, contrasting with the warm dough and crunchy sugar granules. At this point, we were the last ones in the restaurant and our faces and hands were covered in sugar, like guilty children who had just raided a bag of Tangfastics.

Even though 081 Pizzeria launched in 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, it’s taken off fast. Its expansion to Fitzrovia is a tribute to the quality of the pizzas and Napoli dishes its founder Andrea Ascuiti is serving up.

The vibe A homely, nothing fancy, cosy spot above the Smugglers Tavern in Fitzrovia with wooden interiors and vintage Italian decor.

The food A modern take on authentic Italian comfort food, showcasing how much delight can be achieved with cheese, tomato and dough.

The drink 081 doesn’t have a drinks menu, but you can order drinks from the pub’s bar downstairs (the cocktails are very nice).

Time Out tip Go hard on the dips and dessert. You won’t regret it.


Smugglers Tavern
28 Warren St
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