A friend had told me about the wonderful pizza at Franco Manca many years ago. This was when it had opened one of its first branches down in Brixton. Although Franco Manca has recently been popping everywhere, it is only now that Franco Manca has been visited. I trust my friend’s judgement of cafes and restaurants and there’s not been a time when places haven’t lived up to high standards.
Franco Manca is fairly big and the pizza oven is situated in the middle of the restaurant. There is outdoor seating but also the wooden tables and chairs inside extend to the back. A mirrored wall and ornate side mirrors makes the restaurant feel airy and spacious.
The pizza oven has a colourful mosaic design. The pizza can be seen made in the open kitchen next to the oven. The lighting and pipes all add to the exposed minimalist look to Franco Manca. Two big boards, one at the front and one at the back display the specials, sides and desserts. The menu consists of only six different pizzas, ranging from simple tomato, garlic, oregano through to cured chorizo and Gloucester old spot home cured ham pizzas.
The staff are really friendly and welcoming. They were happy to put less cheese on my vegetarian pizza and also to omit the goat’s curd. Even the hot water was given in a glass with a napkin tied around it, making easier to hold.
The vegetarian special sounded interesting with the Franco and Llloyd mozzarella, organic tomato, mixed peppers with garlic and capers, caramelised red onions, goat’s curd and wild garlic pesto. There was also another pizza which may have to be tried on another occasion. This was the “no tomato” pizza with courgettes, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and Franco and Cantarelli Grana.
It’s informative that Franco Manca states the information on their menu about how their pizza is made from a slow-rising dough and how it is baked. It explains that the edge of the pizza shouldn’t be discarded as it is a soft and digestible crust due to the slow levitation and blast cooking process.
The service at Franco Manca is fast even though the restaurant was pretty much full on this Friday evening. Cutlery is provided on the table in a tin can along with napkins, oils, pepper and tap water. Fairly loud music was playing in the background but then this was drowned out by the chatter from the other diners.
A steaming hot pizza was presented by the friendly staff. It smelt wonderful. The crust had to be tried first. It was so soft with the distinctive sourdough taste definitely coming through. The toppings were generous, cooked just right and a good combination. The wild garlic pesto was dotted around the pizza and it was a favourite topping.
The base was thin with a thin layer of tomato sauce. The Franco and Llloyd mozzarella did not overpower the pizza and tasted great. The punchiness from the garlic pesto complemented the sweet red onions and the sourdough base. The pizza was amazing and delicious. It lived up to the standards that friends had told me about Franco Manca.
Staff quickly cleared up after diners and tables were swiftly ready for the next hungry customers. Lots of staff meant water bottle refills and extra orders could easily be taken without the wait.
Dining at Franco Manca was thoroughly enjoyable. Although usually independent restaurants are visited over restaurant chains, Franco Manca has been a great discovery. Their pizza is done superbly with their signature sourdough recipe and to a high quality too.
Have a read about the man behind Franco Manca from Brixton Blog:
Franco Manca, 72 Upper Street, Angel, London, N1 0NY