Brixton's Franco Manca

Written by Katie Parla on January 4, 2010

Taking a page from the London Eater‘s guide to dining in London, I took the short trip to Brixton from my London abode on Saturday afternoon. My culinary destination of the day was Franco Manca, a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint serving Neapolitan style pies in a no-frills setting. Apparently famous for its queues, we got there at 4pm and were seated immediately inside beside the pizza counter. Our order was taken before we even sat down. A master of turning tables, Franco’s servers have you in and out in less than 30 minutes. It’s one of the reasons the place manages to stay in business while open only five hours a day (from noon to 5pm). The main reason, however, is that Franco Manca serves a fairly impressive substitute for la vera pizza napoletana some 2000km from Naples. The dough is that same thick rim with a flat, doughy center found in Naples and the consistency is nearly identical. Only the toppings fall a bit short. The cheese is alright, but lacks some of the natural elasticity of melted mozzarella and the pinkish-brown ham does not resemble anything you would find on a pizza in Italy. Then again, I am spoiled by (at least) monthly visits to Di Matteo, Sorbillo, and I Decumani where Neapolitan pizza reaches its full potential. While not quite the same as the real thing, Franco Manca scores pretty high points in my book.

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