When you’ve had proper pizza in Italy, particularly Neapolitan-style pizzas, it’s quite a disappointment to come back to those thick, overly topped pizzas from commercial traders. Convenience is key, sure. But sometimes you just can’t settle for anything less. Unless perfect means less is more.
Franco Manca is a legend. In 2008, a pizzeria opened in Brixton Market which was then exclusively a mecca of Afro-Caribbean shops. They were only open during lunchtimes and there was nothing over £8 on the menu. Today, with eight branches all over the city (the ninth opening this summer) and still nothing over £8 on the menu, Franco Manca has definitely marked its territory in London’s food scene.
The menu is straightforward: six pizzas on offer and organic beverages two daily specials for vegetarians and carnivores, organic beverages (soft and alcoholic), and pure Arabica coffee. Ingredients are sourced from organic farms and artisan traders in the UK and Italy.
The crust is made from slow-rising sourdough baked in a special brick oven that produces a heat twice as hot as your normal oven and is very, very humid. This means it only takes about 40 seconds to cook your perfect pizza, the edges puffing up nicely and the insides still soft and chewy. I usually discard the pizza edges but this was way too good to throw away so I nibbled them with a bit of garlic/chilli-infused oils. Yum.
We also grabbed the vegetarian special of the day. Same margarita base, ricotta, aubergine, some wild mushrooms and rocket. I super enjoyed this. The aubergine had a smoky flavour that worked wonders.
Purists, pizza fascists, and Neapolitan fans will definitely bask in pizza glee here. If you’re more into the thick, commercial type, just give it a go and prepare to be mind blown. You’ll never look at pizza the same way again.
Brixton Village, etc
Unit 4 Market Row, London, SW9 | +44(0)20 7738 3021 (no deliveries, but you can call to take out)
Ave spend pp: £10