Meet The Member: Andrea Ascuiti – 081 Pizzeria.

Please introduce yourself!

Ciao, I’m Andrea Ascuiti – Founder of 081 Pizzeria and one of the founding members of Bravi Ragazzi, one of the best pizzerias in South London.

Tell us a bit about how the 081 Pizzeria journey began?

After moving to London in 2012, I opened a traditional Neapolitan pizzeria in Streatham with two friends.  At Bravi Ragazzi, I learnt a lot about how to open and run a business in London, understood more intricate techniques for the pizza dough making process, found out who the best suppliers in the UK market are, as well as building relationships with lots of people in the industry.

But despite this success, I wanted to learn more about how the English ran serviced restaurants and the UK’s hospitality sector because I felt trapped in an ‘Italian way of thinking’. So I went off to get hands-on experience at some of London’s top restaurants including Burger & Lobster,  Zelman Meats, and MEATliquor. I also became a General Manager at Pizza Pilgrims in December 2019 which reignited my passion and great knowledge of pizza. This motivated me to open my own solo business. 

That moment, along with the Covid-19 pandemic, became the catalyst for 081 Pizzeria. During lockdown in 2020, I was inspired by my passion for pizza and strong desire to change the perception of the typical Italian restaurant in London. I  found a way to combine traditional cooking techniques with innovative dishes/ingredients to put my own unique stamp on London’s pizza scen

And what makes 081 Pizzeria unique? 

081 Pizzeria is pioneering a fresh and modern approach to traditional Neapolitan pizza, offering a contemporary twist whilst promising artisanal, authentic Italian cuisine using only the finest quality of ingredients. 

To add our own contemporary spin, 081 Pizzeria is one of the UK’s first pizza concepts to serve ‘Neapolitan tapas’ – a selection of small tasty snacking dishes inspired from Naples with new, innovative recipes and garnishes. 

081 Pizzeria’s motto is ‘Pizza Is a Serious Thing’ – encapsulating the intricacy, technique, knowledge, and mastery required to make a great Neapolitan pizza. The brand look and feel is a very important part of the pizza culture at 081 Pizzeria. We worked with Branca of BadEgg Clothing at the artworks to create the visual design and funky branding. I was influenced by hip hop music and culture to create a bold, gritty and youthful aesthetic to reimagine the legendary pizza culture of Naples with an urban twist in London.

Where does your passion for food come from? 

I grew up in the spiritual homeland for pizza – Naples – so I was surrounded by pizza from a young age. Everyone in my city had a connection with pizza and it’s a special thing. I quickly developed a strong passion and love for it, believing that pizza itself is a mindset.

From being a pizza delivery driver to a restaurant kitchen assistant, pizza was always at the heart of my career. I learnt to cook my first pizza at the age of 21 and spent the following years building my knowledge of traditional Neapolitan pizza cooking processes and techniques.

Tell us about your connections to South London and Peckham…

Since moving to London, I have been living in South London and just love the way of life here. I even have a tattoo with ‘SW16’ on my back! South London is like living in a big village to me. People are friendly and now I’m very familiar with the neighbourhood and the local businesses. 

I always listened to Hip Hop music so when I moved to London I was fascinated about learning the roots of Giggs, as I am a big fan. I loved the cultural vibrancy and lively atmosphere of the area Peckham Rye, then it gradually developed a lot and I thought it was the right place to open a Pizzeria.

Why did you choose Peckham Levels as the first home for 081 Pizzeria? 

I have chosen Peckham because the food scene has been growing a lot in the last few years and it has become a melting pot of quirky street food and cultural vibrancy. Peckham is an exciting dining destination and attracts young adults and families from all over London, and we want to reach these people in the local community and further afield. Although the food scene is ever-evolving, I believe I can make a difference with 081 Pizzeria compared to what other local food businesses are offering.

What should people be ordering from the 081 Pizzeria menu? 

Our menu features a selection of pizzas with a light dough and an airy, soft and perfect pillowy crust, finished off with a range of melt-in-your-mouth toppings, including classic options and some unusual combinations. 

We offer up to 10 mouth watering pizzas, each made with delicious fresh ingredients imported straight from Italy, such as the Classic Margherita, Truffle Mushrooms, Diavola and Maradona, as well as its signature ‘081 Pizza’ (San Marzano Tomato, Buffalo Mozzarella, Parmesan, Basil and EVO Oil) and the ‘Napoli RMX’ (San Marzano Tomato), Burrata Cheese, Anchovies, Olives and Capers). Each pizza is 12” and prices start from £7.50 per pizza and £3.50 for tapas dishes. 

Our tapas dishes include the ‘Frittatina’ – Deep Fried Italian MacNCheese with Minced Meat and ‘Arancina’ – Deep Fried Rice Ball filled with Bolognese. To quench that summer thirst, choose from a selection of ice-cold craft beers or the classic Italian Aperol Spritz.

Check out their website https://www.081pizzeria.com

Follow them on Socials https://www.instagram.com/081pizzeriapeckham/