I’m sad to say Franco Manca doesn’t exist…as a person. If he did, the likes of Antonio Carluccio, Gino D’Acampo and Aldo Zilli would be begging him for advice as the rumours are true – Franco Manca makes the best pizza in town.
In reality, the pizza gods are Giuseppe Mascoli, Bridget Hugo and Sami Wasif, who all deserve medals for creating delicious pizza for less than it costs to buy a voucher meal at Pizza Express. Starting out in Brixton Village, Franco Manca now has restaurants in Chiswick and Westfield (Stratford), although having been to the original, I’m not sure a shopping centre would really suit the vibe of this delightfully eclectic and haphazard pizzeria.
As with any restaurant in Brixton Village, you need to get there early, so at 7pm we only had to wait ten minutes before we were seated. There were six pizzas on the main menu and a couple of specials on the board. Unsurprisingly for me, I homed in on no.4 – Gloucester Old Spot Home Cured Ham with Mozzarella, Buffalo Ricotta and Wild Mushrooms (is your mouth watering by any chance? Mine is…).
All pizzas are made with slow-rising sourdough bread, which is baked for a minimum of twenty hours in a wood burning ‘tufae’ brick oven. The base is almost as good as the meticulously sourced toppings, giving it a taste that reminds me of naan bread and a crust you simply can’t leave. Eating my pizza was similar to the breakfast I enjoyed at the Duck Egg Cafe this morning – it didn’t matter how full I was, I never, ever, wanted it to end.
You won’t be surprised to read that I’m giving Franco Manca a LLE Rating of 10/10. Not only are the pizzas amazing (did I mention that?), the house wine is pretty damn good and the price brings a smile to my face and often empty wallet. Best of all, if the thought of queuing feels too much after a long day, you can order a pizza and take it home.
Franco Manca, Unit 4, Market Row, Brixton Village, London SW9 8LD