From rootsy beginnings at Brixton Market, Franco Manca has expanded on its early success and since early 2010 have been firing trad Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in Chiswick too. The original Market row outlet set up by Gisseppe Mascoli in 2005 had one magnificent mosaic-tiled, wood-burning ‘Tufae’ brick oven built on site by artisans from Naples. This oven pumped out slow proven sourdough bases with a menu of only six pizzas using no nonsense organic toppings. Mass populartity allowed Gippsppe to double the size of the original FM on the opposite side of the market row but hampered by market regulations & evening opening hours hindered the scalablity of this exciting style of pizza.
The Chiswick site allows for diner time trading and fits in well with affluent Hammersmith lunchers. Small bites, salads, puds and an extended booze list had been added to the more conventional restaurant setting on Chiswick High road. A beautiful tiled ‘Tufae’ is visible from the street and the branding is in keeping with their more humble beginnings, they have stuck with the same Pizza menu limited to six options that fluctuate according to market availability. All the ‘bites’ come in at under £4 as do the desserts and the most expensive Pizza is £7.50.
These Pizza may not be to everyones taste, the 20 hour proving and ancient sourdough recipe makes for a base your not going see that often currently in the UK. A puffy and charred crust that is both chewy and crisp tapers towards an ultra thinigh centre. The intense heat from the oven creates big air bubbles in the dough where the toppings it isnt weighing it down and they are only cooked for 40 seconds. A very simple tomato sauce that hasn’t been over cooked before going to the oven means it’s not too sweet but light and tangy. Incredibly well sourced toppings are in keeping with the artisan vibe.
There have been murmurings on the web complaining of a drop in quality from the Brixton heyday. When we visited Chiswick recently there was a slight lack of crunch to the cornicone and the toppings did tend to ‘puddle’ in the middle of the pizzas. But the flavour of the unique crust was still there and the quality of toppings still very high. Franco Manco aims to produce the most authentic sourdough pizza to be found outside of Naples – and at prices that even undercut the local takeaways. If your a pizza person Franco Manca is an absloute must.
144 Chiswick High Rd
London W4 1PU
020 8747 4822