I’m embarrassed to say that despite calling myself a Foodie in London, it has taken me until this week to visit Brixton’s Franco Manca pizzeria!
Franco Manca has been constantly hailed as the best pizza in London since it opened in Brixton market in 2008 and today its popularity has borne three further branches across London. But only the original Brixton branch would do if I was finally going to sink my teeth into a piece of this supposedly heavenly dough.
Brixton’s indoor Market Row has a charming array of little eateries including Rosie’s Deli Café, Casa Morita, and Seven at Brixton, where I nervously perched at an outdoor table opposite Franco Manca, to spy on the busyness of the restaurant while I waited for my (very late) husband to arrive.
I’d heard that Franco Manca was so popular that it drew long queues at lunchtimes and as the clock approached midday I was eyeing up the booth seats under the awning of the double sided restaurant, (the indoor market path runs through the middle), to be sure we didn’t lose out on the best seats.
When my hubby finally turned up with baby in toe, he was hot, stressed and grumpy – hung-over and trying to get a small person across town is never a good combo. In the end we sat inside at the back by the pizza oven where it was warm and cosy.
We wasted no time and ordered from the paper menus on the tables. I didn’t even see a whole separate board of specials until it was too late. We chose two classics:
1) Gloucester Old Spot ham (home-cured), wild mushrooms, buffalo ricotta and mozzarella
2) Tomato, cured organic chorizo (dry & semi-dry) and mozzarella
The large sourdough oven-baked pizzas arrived in minutes and were devoured even sooner and then a fight broke out about who had had more of the ‘only four’ pieces of semi dry chorizo – an indication of just how good this pizza was.
At the end of the meal I even found myself chewing on the empty crust of sourdough it was so tasty.
Franco Manca – Why Do You Taste So Good?
So why is it so good? These are the elements that I reckon make it such a winner.
Dough – clearly it’s all about a tangy, doughy Sourdough base. Franco Manca’s bread is left to rise for 20 hours and then baked in an artisan wood fire brick oven. The website says the oven uses ‘a blast cooking process that locks in the flour’s natural aroma and moisture’ – so true.
Mozzarella – the mozzarella was rubbery and delicious and generously topped across the pizzas, holding together all the other tasty ingredients, doing it’s job. Franco Manca’s cheese comes from the award-winning Alham Wood Organics Buffalo Farm in Somerset.
Tomato – Taking it back to the motherland, Franco Manca’s tomatoes are hand picked in Salerno, Italy in the summertime and never canned or frozen.
And there you have it, Franco Manca – probably the best pizza in the UK. Now when can I get my next fix?