Unit 4, Market Row, SW9 8LD
No bookings taken
Warning: stay away if you do not like pizza, it is all they have on the menu!
How long would you wait for a pizza? On Friday night I queued for an hour and a quarter for the now famous Franco Manca sourdough, surely the hottest restaurant in the buzzing Brixton Village. The pizza was pretty good, but I am not sure that it was worth such a long wait. The whole experience was rather fraught, with a lot of pressure to eat up quickly and the staff running around like headless chickens, occasionally garnishing pizzas with drops of perspiration from their foreheads.
Franco Manca is known for its sourdough pizza bases (all their pizzas are made from this) which are left to rise slowly without adding yeast, resulting in a soft and light base. They also have a special wood burning oven that reaches around 500C, allowing a very quick cook and keeping the base nice and thin. The menu only has 6 options, all hover around £7 (certainly great value), and there are a few more daily specials. The dough is fantastic and the ingredients are very fresh – the menu states the sources of all the main ingredients (including what UK ingredients are used at various times of the year) which is a nice touch.
First I sampled the courgette, basil, buffalo ricotta and pecorino (£6.75 -the waitress offered tomato sauce with this but I would recommend having it without). This was unusual but very enjoyable: the slight bitterness of the crunchy pecorino was nicely offset by the fresh, sweet courgettes, with the beautifully creamy ricotta sitting in the background. I would also recommend the tomato, chorizo and mozzarella (£6.95) which was less adventurous but allowed focus on the famous base and crust which were light and melt in the mouth; the chorizo was not chewy or greasy and had only a hint of spice.
Franco Manca offers great value pizzas, but if you are of a gentle disposition I recommend avoiding it on Friday and Saturday nights!