As was vaguely mentioned in my last post, I am currently trying to find the best pizza in London. As was also mentioned in my last post, I’m not a big fan of being chronologically accurate. So here is my first full, but second actual, post in this series, from the third pizza place that I visited on my quest: Franco Manca.
This came as a recommendation from the person that I went with – let’s call him Paul, because fake, boring names are the tops – and then, later, by two other different friends who I did not go with, but went for Chinese food with and that was delightful if not part of this quest.
Before going to Franco Manca, Paul and I went to a wine tasting. Actually, more accurately, it was a wine launch at a nearby modern art gallery for Most Wanted Wines at the #WineryFinery event. The wines were fine, and there was some finery in the shape of the modern art, which I don’t understand but others do and that’s how they make their fortune and, you know, good for them. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Malbec came recommended. The SB was the tastier of the two to me as I’ve definitely had better Malbecs, but it was free so on you go. There were two other wines to try, which I did as I thought it was a tasting. There were no spit buckets though, and they poured quite large glasses. I tried to clear my palate (and prevent myself from getting too drunk too quickly) with some sparkling water, but I’m not convinced that it worked (on either counts). We ended up in the basement, then left the basement. Then there was a photobooth. Then some schmoozing. Then we left.
I really resent queuing for restaurants, but it turns out that four (six?) glasses of wine beforehand makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. Plus the weather was nice, which helped.
A 10 minute queue.
There are currently 19 Franco Mancas. I went to the one on Tottenham Court Road. Franco Manca started in Brixton Market and, you know, good for the company for being able to become so successful so quickly (I presume it was quickly. When I lived in London two years ago I never heard it mentioned, but then again I was less interested in food two years ago) – they clearly must be doing something right.
The waitress was Italian, or, at least, had an Italian accent. For Italian food, as per my last review, this is a good thing. She was wearing her hair in a pineapple, which I have respect for.
The menu was all written on a big blackboard. I saw my usual pizza of choice and was good to go. Ham, mushroom, mozzarella, ricotta, not too much tomato: wham bam, good to go.
Paul went for the special of the day which was meaty.
Here’s a picture of the menu for your enjoyment:
We ordered more wine. It came in a screw top bottle. They made us taste the wine. Damn girl, this is a pizza place that sells pizza for under £7 and has wine from a screw top bottle: it won’t have corked; don’t make this whole ordeal any fancier than it needs to be!
I tasted the wine. It was fine. #WineryFinery. We had the bottle.
We also asked for some water, which she explained to us was already right next to us. It came in a bottle. Touché Franco Manca, you try and snazz up the joint.
The pizza came. Paul was in the toilet so I stared at it in a drunken haze for a while, excited at what was to come. And I took a picture. Well done me.
We then cut the pizzas in half so we could each have half. Ta dah:
It tasted good. There were possibly too many herbs on the meat special, but it was still just what someone who was now onto too-many-glasses-of-wine ordered.
The point of difference that Franco Manca has over most other pizza places is its dough. Sourdough. The actual pizza toppings were quite standard and, you know, tasted like good old fashioned pizza toppings. The dough, though, was chewy rather than crispy. In my haze I very much enjoyed that it was chewy and warm, but then I got thirsty and was grateful for the free water.
I needed more food for all the wine. It’s a wonder that people do wine tastings with Michelin meals as there is very little food to go with the alcohol.
The coffee smelled good.
We chatted and looked at our polaroids.
We were told that the restaurant was closing. I think we tipped them. They were very friendly to us even while they were stacking chairs and clearly wanting us to leave. There was another group that were still there. Never be the last to leave a restaurant.
We stumbled home across the river.
I then watched TV until 2am, got up at 6.30am, ran to Victoria to catch a 6 hour coach which I would highly not recommend after the wine.
Franco Manca – 7/10, through the wine haze it was nice. The dough was interesting but not stand-out enough to warrant high praise. Plus it’s a chain and, like, I’m all about the independents maaaan.