Franco Manca, Brixton Village

I adore Brixton Village –  really really think it’s totallywonderfulandgreat. If you are remotely interested in good food and haven’t been there then you are having a total nightmare and you must get on the Victoria Line & head southbound immediately. Now.

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Well now that you’ve been you’ll know all about Franco Manca, but I’ll re-cap for you anyway. This is somewhere that’s been on my hit-list for ages but there’s never been a right time – something that’s especially inexcusable as they’ve also just opened a branch on my doorstep – the Northcote Road – and now that I’ve finally been I am devastatingly cross with myself for being so goddamn tardy. What on earth was I waiting for? Certainly not a better pizza, as THERE ISN’T ONE.

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Franco Manca do pizza & pizza alone. Sourdough pizzas actually, which for the uninitiated are soft, doughy and seriously tasty thin-based delights. If you’re a fan of the Deadly Dominoes then stop reading (and go away please) as these are nothing like that. They are proper, authentic pizzas which are bursting in flavour and are so moorish that you’re left scouring everyone else’s plates for any scraps of manna that might be left. Despite their huge size, you are always going to want more.

Everyone knows it too – this is a seriously popular spot and I suggest you get there early if you want to avoid the snaking queues that are pretty much always there, despite the hench competition of other excellent places in the units nearby. Don’t be put off though – they move quickly as pizzas are cooked fresh to order in literally a few minutes so people don’t hang around for long. They’ve got what they came for & probably nip up the row for a Fro-yo for pud. Works for everyone.

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We went for a hungover Sunday lunch and ordered a good array between us. I went for the No 4 – Home-Cured Gloucester Old Spot Ham, Mozzarella, Buffalo Ricotta, Wild Mushrooms & a cheeky addition of Caramelised Red Onions. I blasphemously asked for ketchup before they arrived and was quickly shut down, but quite right too – it would have been tragedy. Absolutely nothing else was needed to make my pizza any better than it already was. I actually squealed with excitement when it arrived (slightly a la  Harry & Sally – embarrassing) and didn’t stop moaning with delight as I got stuck in. It was really, really wonderful – the ham was delicious & salty, the cheese creamy, the onions sweet & the mushrooms wild & nutty. The crusts was perfectly soft and melted in the mouth. Genius.

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Everyone else was busy adoring all over theirs as well and I lead the way in a continuos revival of  “isn’t this SO great”. I couldn’t stop with the praise. By the time I’d finished I was so desperate to try someone else’s too (I had been so engrossed in my own affair that my usual food envy hadn’t even considered rearing its normally uber-alert head) that I settled for picking what I thought was a delicious leftover red pepper from N’s plate just to get that extra last bit of flavour. I shouldn’t have. It wasn’t a red pepper. It was a chilli. A ridiculously hot ‘ohmygodmyeyesarewatering’ chilli. I couldn’t close my mouth for ten minutes. Now who’s having the nightmare?

This taught me two lessons though:

1. Don’t pinch other people’s food (a lesson I’m pretty sure I’ll never learn).

2: Obviously no-one ever leaves anything on their plate at Franco Manca. They eat it all. All of it. Because it’s heavenly.

Square Meal

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