Several people talked to me about a chain of restaurants serving the cheapest pizzas in London. But I don’t know why, I couldn’t remember the name.
And I wasn’t the only one. My boyfriend was worst: he ate in one of the restaurants but couldn’t remember the name as well.
We knew it was an Italian name in 2 words finishing by “a”. The closest name we could come up with was “Fernet Branca”, an Italian alcohol.
One day, I was reading an article about the best pizzas in London and Franco Manca was mentioned. This was it, the name we were looking for for ages!
I decided to go before I forget the name one more time.
After a look at the different locations, I choose to go to the one in Soho, in Berwick Street. I was a bit surprised that there was a Franco Manca there as I passed by several times and never noticed it.
When we arrived in front of the restaurant, my boyfriend entered by mistake in the Greek restaurant next door and I had to drag him out while he was asking the waiter for a table.
He might have thought that both were the same restaurant as only the reception of Franco Manca is on the ground floor and it was empty at that time.
We finally asked the hostess of Franco Manca if a table for 2 was available and she replied that it was the pre-opening party.
I was reassured that I wasn’t totally crazy as I couldn’t have noticed a restaurant that didn’t exist before but disappointed at the same time as I was really looking forward to trying their pizzas and nothing was mentioned on the website about the pre-opening party.
But we didn’t come for nothing: we received 2 vouchers entitling for a free pizza and glass of wine for 2 people.
We came back 2 weeks later and our 2nd attempt was successful.
I really liked the decoration of the place: light wood, visible pipes and a path of colourful tiles.
The restaurant was very bright despite being on the lower ground flour.
The fixed menu is written on the mat and was very simple: a choice of 6 pizzas and 2 salads as side order. The most expensive pizza is only £6.95 (without extra topping)!
The changing menu is written on a slate: special daily pizzas and starters.
Regarding the drinks, it’s worth to mention that the wines are organic and the beers are craft-brewed.
I ordered a lager and my boyfriend a pale ale.
Then, we took a burrata mozzarella to share.
For the pizza, I chose the tomato-mozarella-basil and my boyfriend the tomato-garlic-oregano-capers-olives-anchovies-mozarella.
He knew that I wouldn’t be tempted to try his as I ate garlic, capers and anchovies.
The pizzas are made from slow-rising sourdough and are baked in a wood burning brick oven.
The dough was thin as I like but not enough crispy to my taste.
The pizzas were well sized and I couldn’t finish mine.
But I kept a little space for dessert.
Surprisingly for an Italian restaurant, the traditional tiramisu wasn’t on the menu.
I opted for a lemon polenta cake with greek yoghurt and honey and my boyfriend for a chocolate cake with a vanilla ice-cream scoop.
I guess that he wasn’t really in the sharing mood that day because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cake and therefore didn’t even try it.
All the staff we encountered during our meal was Italian, which is always a nice touch.
I can now confirm the reputation of Franco Manca as being the best cheap pizzas in London.
It’s crazy to think that they cost the same price than a frozen pizza at M&S or Waitrose!
I will definitely remember Franco Manca’s name this time!
Update 16/10/2015: Tiramisu is now on the menu!
13 locations around London (Covent Garden to open soon)