Friday, 11 December 2009

Restaurant Review: Franco Manca

'Why are  the last few places you've reviewed in North London when South London is SOO much better', I hear you cry.  Well those poor buggers need all the help they can get and frankly I took pity on them.  But enough of that, its time to come back South where everything is better.

Ok, Ok this might not be quite accurate, but what is true is that our pizza is better, specifically Franco Manca is better.  Better than what?  Well better than basically everything else that involves cheese, tomato and dough in this country, maybe its because South London is closer to Italy, who knows.  Everyone has reviewed this place by now, so there's probably not much need to go on about the sourdough that, rumour has it, is made from a  batch that has been going in Naples for over 200 years, or that it's rested for 24 hours before being turned into a beautifully elastic, soft base.  Also everyone's already written about the 2 wood-fired ovens made by Neapolitan Artisans that cook that base to a beautifully blistered finish in around a minute.  The fact that its mainly organic and ingredients are from England as far as possible (even the Mozzarella) cutting down on air miles, etc,etc.  You've probably already had a glass of their home-made lemonade.  Well I don't care, I'm going to gush about this place anyway because its local and because its amazing.

Its situated in Brixton Row, the part of Brixton Market off Electric Avenue and if you're there on the weekend (only Saturday's mind) you'll know it by the queue.  Also keep in mind this is only open at lunch and it pays to get there early.  For students, those that work from home or people between jobs, the queue is not really a problem during the week, but its a testament to this place's popularity that it was full for a weekday lunch.  The service is abrupt but friendly (some disagree) though definitely frantic on the weekend.  The menu is very short and their are specials on the board, with calzone's occasionally cropping up there.  Classic pizza flavours are there, margarita, chorizo (supplied by Brindisa), not all feature cheese and not all tomato, all are good as is the delicious garlic and chilli oils on the table, and none cost over £7.  The only one that I'm not so keen on is the anchovy, tomato and mushroom (no cheese), I thought the anchovy flavour would have been better if they had been chopped fine and been allowed to melt into the sauce rather than left as large fillings, which I found overpowering.  This, however is a small criticism.  The place is lively, always busy, the market setting makes for a good setting because it still feels secret and most importantly it has really fantastic pizza.

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