When you’ve opted to not go out on a lash with your mates on a Friday night, you usually somehow find yourself on the sofa eating pizza whilst binging on your new favourite Netflix series. While we decided we’d prefer to have a quiet Friday night, we chose to venture out for our pizza rather than in. Given its many recommendations and locality, we headed to Brixton’s Franco Manca which is a franchise restaurant known for its famous sourdough pizzas.
Whilst we wanted a quiet Friday night meal, Franco Manca, on a Friday night, is vibrantly filled with sourdough pizza-lovers who packed out the entrance of Brixton’s Market Row. The restaurant is so popular now that they even do gift cards! The restaurant has an authentic Italian atmosphere with the staff communicating with each other in their mother tongue where they exchange Italian banter that even a non-native speaker, like myself, can enjoy. The vibes are casual as it almost felt all customers were catching up on their loved ones’ busy lives and everyone’s comfort was apparent thanks to Franco Manca’s intimate and cosy table-sharing set up.
Franco Manca is simple, you eat and you drink, both their food and drink go through a thorough fermenting process that maintains their high standards of quality. They have a range of Italian wine with an array of organic wines, those which come from sustainable agriculture with some biodynamic wines also too. He had the Trebbiano wine from Francesco Cirelli which had a crisp and lasting taste and as you can imagine is the perfect accomplice to Franco’s pizzas. For our starters, or as Franco Manca refers to them, ‘bites’, we opted for some chorizo bites, as well as, garlic bread with mozzarella. Both were delicious treats, the garlic bread especially was interesting as it had a tomato base and the crust was fluffy to the point it tasted like an American-style pizza especially if you added the chorizo bites on top, because, after all, I am a big kid.
Their range of pizzas accommodate all varying food-lovers, but given their breadth of range, it makes the decision of which pizza to have a serious challenge. Nonetheless, we chose the meat special with one of Franco and Lloyd mozzarella, organic tomato, Gloucester old spot sausage, Colston Bassett Stilton and radicchio trevisano. If you’re a sausage lover then you’re in for a treat when trying this pizza as the other pizza flavours work as a platform for the sausages flavours to steal the show. Plus Franco Manca’s pizzas are made slow-rising rising sourdough, and are baked in a traditional wood-burning oven – this gives it a soft, fluffy texture which makes it easier for us to digest – due to the methods used these are crusts (the ‘cornicione’- if you want to come correct and be cultured) which must be eaten. Here’s a fact for you: this method was developed by founder Giuseppe Mascoli.
There are a range of fresh salads to choose from to accompany your pizzas or to have with your main if you are after something a little healthier – both meat and veggie. While we didn’t try any desserts due to being well fed; Franco Manca has a ‘post pizza’ section, which includes the Italian classic tiramisu, chocolate hazelnut cake, lemon almond cake or some ice cream/sorbet for something lighter.
All in all, it’s clear to see why Franco Manca is becoming one of the UK’s best Italian franchises. Their casual and relaxed set up creates a comfortable atmosphere for their customers. They’re authentic to Italian culture and cuisine and most importantly it is affordable which is a great incentive to come considering the quality of their food and drink. I mean a whopping 1,200 pizzas were made on the Friday we went!