My feelings about Franco Manca can been summed up in one sentence; ‘great pizza, terrible set up.’
I was introduced to the pizza chain late 2014 by an Italian friend who said ‘it was the best pizza in London.’ So naturally I had to check it out.
My first visit to Franco Manca, Brixton was a shock. The queue and long waiting times; and when finally seated, the accusing eyes of people waiting for a table urging you to eat in a hurry and leave so they can have your table was a new experience for me.
Though I enjoyed the pizza, I didn’t love the experience and hoped another branch of the franchise would be better. I was wrong, the queue at the Tottenham Court Road was even longer.
I swore off Franco Manca after Tottenham Court Road but I was back there last weekend. I took a few friends back to the Brixton branch. After queuing for about 40 minutes, we finally got a table. The pizza was as good as ever, and they now have some fantastic red wines on their list which made waiting in the freezing cold a little bit bearable.
What’s so special about Franco Manca pizza? It’s made from slow rising sourdough baked in a good burning ‘Tufae’ brick oven made by specialised artisans from Naples. And toppings are usually just 3 ingredients or less so the flavours are prominent and it’ healthier than the average pizza on the high street. There is also a very rustic feel to the whole Franco Manca brand. Eating there is like being in the front room of an Italian family house than in a restaurant.
It doesn’t look like Franco Manca will be changing its model by getting bigger venues or more seats anytime soon, frankly, with queues round the block daily, the current set up works for them. With pizza that good, people (including me) will come even if they hate waiting around.