Every critic, blogger and Londoner has sung the praises of Franco Manca. Once, I even heard someone describe it as Sourdough Pizza Heaven and with those kind of reviews I’d be silly not to find the time to try it. Second to that, the original restaurant is situated along Market Row in Brixton – 10 minutes from my house. So my flatmate and I decide to meet there after work on a Thursday evening for a quick bite.
Giuseppe Mascoli, Franco Manca’s owner and expat Neapolitan, is famous for his slow-rising sourdough recipe. Offering a small menu of six different pizzas, Giuseppe Mascoli philosophy is all about keeping things simple and using the best possible ingredients to produce good quality pizza.
To start things off my dining partner and I ordered a bottle of Madregale Bianco, an organic white wine from Italy produced by Cantina Tollo. Drinking from our tumblers we discussed how it had a distinct “organic taste” – crisp, fresh and fruity. Is it obvious we know nothing about wine?!
Franco Manca pizza’s are extremely good value with the cheapest at £4.50, reaching £6.95 tops. Menu’s double up as placemats covering the tables with seating at the Brixton venue being both indoor and outdoor overlooking the bustling market arcade. Keeping your coat on at this time of year is essential! There’s a no booking policy at the Brixton restaurant and with it only being a small set-up queuing is inevitable but arrive early (like us!) and you’ll get a table straight away.
We placed our orders with the waitress and 10 minutes later we were served our pizzas. My dining partner went for the Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil pizza (£5.90) with added Spinach. We didn’t realise until we received the bill that the spinach was an extra £1.50! A little steep for some extra leaves, but I guess they have to make their money somehow!
I went for the Tomato, Cured Organic Chorizo and Mozzarella (£6.95), a tasty combination of thick-cut and thin-cut chorizo was used making for a rich and oily topping. Delicious!
Made from slow-rising sourdough, pizza’s are baked in a wood burning ‘tufae’ brick oven. The sourdough recipe produces a flavourful and soft base and an easy to eat crust. The rich tomato base sits perfectly underneath the milky mozzarella, brought to life with a leaf of fresh basil.
Franco Manca delivers a speedy and friendly service with a rapid turnover. Other menu choices include white base pizzas with toppings such as locally-sourced courgettes, basil, mozzarella and ricotta. Franco Manca has four other branches, in Balham, Battersea, Chiswick and Westfield Stratford but I’ve been told the original branch is it’s best. Delicious wood burnt pizzas, with fresh and flavoursome toppings – you can’t go wrong with that can you?
ADDRESS: Unit 4, Market Row, Brixton, London, SW9 8LD
CONTACT: 020 7738 3021
OPENING HOURS: Mon 12-5pm, Tues to Sat 12-11pm and 12-10.30pm Sun. They don’t take bookings so just turn up when it’s good for you, it’s first come, first served.