Wednesday 31 July 2019


Fugitive Motel is the new kid on the block when it comes to great pizzas with inventive toppings in East London and one that delivers on flavours and atmosphere. Yes, you do get your Franco Manca and Homeslice outposts in this part of town that are reliably good, but this place has proper character and you can tell that a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into the opening of this place and I for one am always keen to support independent businesses trying to make it in the far from easy London restaurant scene, especially if the food they serve is as good as it is here. 

A stones throw away from Bethnal Green station, down the end that you usually wouldn’t walk down, don’t be put off by the marginally less hip location than let’s say London fields, as the duo behind Fugitive Motel, two former musicians now cutting their teeth in the gastro world, have really created a wonderful space here.

Think 50s/60s West Coast Americana vibes in terms of interiors but still kept classy with dining booths, neon signs and big windows that make it a bright and instantly inviting space that works as well during day as at night time. It’s all kept very casual and you order at the bar which I don’t mind at all, especially with friendly staff like is the case here and they offer up a good selection of craft beers (for those that like that most hated beverage of mine), cocktails and wine on offer, all very reasonably priced for the area.

There are some fantastic small plates on offer too if you don’t want to dive straight into the pizzas, with their zucchini fritte with sriracha mayo (a total bargain at £4.5 for a huge portion) being some of the best courgette fries I have had, fried to crispy and salty perfection without feeling greasy, and we also couldn't help but try some of their triple cooked chips that came with proper truffle mayo, not the kind of stuff advertised as "truffle flavoured" but really not tasting of it at all, a major pet hate of mine.

Pizzas were equally convincing and good value for money, with no pizza setting you back more than £12.5 and most of them priced between £9-11, all for a pretty big portion size. I particularly loved the creative approach to toppings taken here, which not only made the pizzas served in front of us incredibly photogenic and “grammable”, particularly the ’Summer Nights” pizza with its courgette, flower petal, ricotta, broad bean salsa and mint topping being a real eye-catcher, but also made for some really intriguing, unexpected and delicious flavour combos.

My personal favourites were the signature “The Fugitive”, perfectly bouncy dough with crispy crust, topped with red onion, harissa cauliflower, pickles and tahini dressing, all kinds of surprising in terms of flavours and textures but working a real treat here, and “The White One”, a pizza without tomato sauce, topped with an amazingly flavourful olive tapenade, charred broccoli and truffle. Again the different textures and flavours worked incredibly well together and I got a proper hit of truffle which I loved, especially when it only costs you £11.5 rather than a pricy truffle pizza from the likes of Pizza East and Gloria where it is more around the £16 mark.

There are also of course some meatier pizza options on the menu, as well as a very intriguing sounding seafood based variety, “From The Sea”, topped with king prawn, squid and rocket, that I am keen to try when I return. I loved the imaginative selection overall, not gimmicky but showcasing a kitchen willing to take some risks to produce some damn delicious pizzas that may not be quite traditional but bloody tasty nonetheless.

Fugitive Motel for me is the perfect place to start a night out in East London, a short walk a way from Mare Street Market and London fields, with enough space for you and your friends to enjoy some great drinks and pizzas that won’t break the bank at and  overall a lot more fun than a generic Franco Manca branch! A fabulous addition to the East London dining scene which I hope will stick around for a while.

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