Saturday, July 11, 2009

Franco Manca , London

Franco Manca opened on the a site that serious Pizza lovers will may remember was once occupied by a Pizzeria called Franco that begat both Eco here and in Clapham as well as Casale Franco in Islington. (Hence Franco Manca).

Franco Manca is co owned by Neapolitan expatriate Giuseppe Mascoli and the the Brixton based artist Bridget Hugo . Mascoli is the owner of Black's the Soho Private Members Club.

Giuseppe Mascoli and his Pizza "consultant" Marco Parente have created a neo Neapolitan Pizzeria with a twist. Whilst largely adhering to the basic rules of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana they source their Fior di Latte Mozzarella from Alham Wood Farm of Somerset which is rather good and certainly better than the majority of Italian industrial versions - however some argue that not using or providing a (higher priced) option of DOP Mozzarella di Buffala is the one weakness of this establishment. Others point out that top DOP Mozzarella is too good to be used for Pizza and should be enjoyed with some good olive oil uncooked or as part of a fresh tomato based salad.

The philosophy of Franco Manca is the creation of a genuine Neapolitan Pizza with the best available locally sourced ingredients. This explains the cheeses from Shepton Mallet and Spanish Olive Oil and selected cured meats from Brindisa. The perfect dough produced with to 00 flour forms the base of a Pizza that is light and airy and cooked in a genuine Neapolitan brick wood fired ovens for less than a minute.

Mascoli like Francesco Mazzei at L'Anima represent a new generation of proud Italians who are not only perfectionists but also have a tremendous pride in the cooking of their motherland! This is great news for a city and country where regrettably many of their compatriots be they recent migrants or first and second generation have shown in Deli’s, Cafes and Restaurants a total disrespect for authentic good quality regional Italian fare.

The menu offers six Pizzas served regular or as calzone, a side salad and beverages (Organic Sicilian Lemonade, Beer and Wine ) as well as a decent Monmouth Espresso.

My routine is usually to have a Pizza and then either split another with my companion or sometimes even have two. I prefer to drink the excellent lemonade and have an espresso with il conto.

After a year or so of regular visits I am pleased to see Franco Manca has not only maintained standards but also continued to improve.

I'd love to see the option of a more expensive DOP Mozzarella di Buffalo topped Pizza for those who are prepared to pay. But despite this little quibble along with Metro on Battersea Rise I have not had better Neapolitan Pizza in the UK.

Update Monday , July 27, 2009

I took my kids for lunch today and after another sublime pizza I ran into Giuseppe Mascoli . Apart from discussing the deconstruction of a certain classic Italian dish and Jacques Derrida I told im the pizza seemed even lighter and more enjoyable than ususal. Giuseppe informed me that this was because the fermentation of the dough on Mondays has been 38 hours (from Saturday evening) unlike most days when it's 24 ! Anyway I can report that at 12.15 only 15 minutes after oeneing there was not a free seat in the casa !

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