I was with my family in Brixton, and after checking out most of the restaurants in the vicinity, my dad decided we had to eat at Franco Manca. I think he’d been wanting to try it out for ages. We sat down and ordered.
Starting at the beginning: What’s so special about Franco Manca? Well, it’s supposed to be one of the top ten pizzerias in the UK. That means, one of the best. And when I say “pizzeria,” you won’t be blamed for imagining a greasy corner shop selling factory bread dumped in the oven with a bunch of processed toppings and fake mozzarella. Unfortunately the term pizzeria does encompass that kind of place… But I what I’m talking about is a REAL, authentic place. Somewhere that you would expect to find in Italy.
But did Franco Manca live up to its expectations?
When the pizza arrived, it looked extremely tasty… But not as delicious as I’d expected. I wasn’t imagining it to look like something off Masterchef, I just thought it might’ve looked a bit fancier. No worries, though. It didn’t really matter how it looked…
Now, what’s Franco Manca famous for? The crust, of course! And for good reason. it was SO chewy. In fact, the whole pizza was chewy. Gorgeous! It was sourdough too – and even though I don’t like sourdough, I know it’s a sign of good quality bread. The vegetables that topped it were premium too, with peppers that were slightly charred on the outside making the skin crispy. The crust was charred as well – they use proper wood-burning ovens (Which they claim come from Naples.) I can’t say the charring benefitted the taste, because it made the pizza bitter… but it certainly made the it look rustic, and I guess it added to the credibility.
Passata is a pretty important factor in Italian cooking. But I can’t say the passata there was exceptional. It could have done with some sweetening and diluting… Maybe also a more generous serving? It seemed to be more of a spread than a topping.
All in all, I’d give Franco Manca 7/10. Great sourdough pizza, chewy + real ingredients. Reasonable prices, I’d totally go again… but strip down that marketing bullshit (Cooking method developed by Greek settlers; ovens from Naples; Italian and Spanish tomatoes etc.) and you’re basically left with a really tasty pizza. Authentic, yes – but not as amazing as it’s made out to be.
Final verdict: Franco is fab… but it is also slightly overrated.