Franco Manca, Chiswick

Thursday, 17 December 2009 | |

Lucky Chiswick? Perhaps that is the case, as the residents of W4 can now claim to have an outpost of probably the best Neapolitan pizza London has to offer. Along with Ground the dining-out scene is looking very promising, with the second branch of Franco Manca offering locals a taste of their now famous sourdough pizzas.

My pizza was not without fault, carrying on the inconsistencies I experienced at the Brixton original. I ordered the number 6: a Neapolitan marinara (£4.50) which consisted of their signature sourdough base topped with tomatoes, garlic and oregano. I decided to forego the addition of buffalo mozzarella due to a recent decision to cut out all dairy and in all honesty, the flavour of the pizza wasn't lacking in any way because of this. The sauce was, well, very tomatoey and well seasoned. The oregano and garlic (rather harsh) adding to the complexity, while the three or four leaves of fresh basil on top rounded things off. In terms of taste, it was a little bit like a pizza with za'atar on top, with some tomato sauce. Not necessarily a bad thing, if you like the flavours.

My main problem with the pizza was regarding the base which is usually a contentious issue among visitors to Franco Manca. This is usually due to the thinness of the pizza dough at the centre which causes the crisp underside to go soggy when the watery mozzarella is added. With no cheese on my pizza, this was not an issue, but the centre of the pizza was far too thick and was subsequently slightly undercooked. It seems the pizzaiolo could have been doing this to combat the sogginess issues, although it was slightly odd.

To drink I chose a large lemonade (at £3.60, almost as much as the pizza!) which was pleasant and tangy, but too large and too expensive; more expensive than I remember it being, anyway. This brought my bill to £9 including the service (already put on) which isn't bad for a pizza of this high quality, but a little too much for a weekday lunch. The room is much larger and has better opening times for those who cannot get to Brixton between 12pm and 5pm, from Monday to Saturday. This branch is open from 12pm till 11pm every day. The service was fine although I wasn't informed of any specials and the waitresses understandably looked a little bored, unlike the servers at Brixton whose movement would make a Premiership striker proud.

This is fast food. Unless you have a long wait for a seat, you'll be done fairly quickly; I was done in around fifteen minutes, due to the speed at which my pizza was cooked and the emptiness of the restaurant, unlike it's Brixton counterpart. It will get busier, and it deserves to, despite some early niggles and I'll definitely be back soon.

Franco Manca on Urbanspoon


The London Foodie said...

Hi Ibzo,

Good write up, and great pictures. I particularly like your main blog pic of chips and burger, so much nicer than mine!

Thanks for becoming a follower, I look forward to reading more of your foodie reviews.

Luiz @ The London Foodie

victor said...

Today, we went by pure chance to Franco Manca in Chiswick... found the venue very cosy, stylish and with very reasonable prices. We tried the lemonade (nice taste, strange orange squash colour) and the complimentary filtered tap water plus a nice glass of dry Italian white. The salad was freshly prepared by the waiting staff (!) almost in front of us...very fresh a little coarse in the leaf cutting. Unfortunately we had to return both pizzas (the chorizo one and the 'neopolita') despite the topping being nice and fresh and the size perfect, there was something wrong in the process of cooking the dough in the wood was raw on the inside and unpleasantly burnt in the outside and underneath. I don't think we are fussy costumers but this time we had to say that we were happy to pay for the pizzas. Manager was cool about it and did not charge at all. We are aware that they are only a few weeks running the restaurant there plus today was new year's day so we'll definitively give them another chance soon.

Anonymous said...

Been there twice (I'm Italian and live in Chiswick..) as I had read so much about the Brixton original.

The crust seemed somewhat doughy to me, but the charred flavor was good. I think they need to adjust the temperature a bit and leave the pizza in for a minute longer, but I'm not a pizzaiolo!

The sauce and mozzarella are very, very high standard, sweet and tangy at the same time.

The all-organic touch is nice, too.

The prices seem below those of very humdrum chains, which I find amazing.

On my visits, the staff was very friendly and efficient (I went in the evening, when they're busier, presumably).


Tom said...

Great review, nice to see that it isn't just me who appreciates the prices, the efforts at quality but still retains a slight reticence at buying into claims as to its greatness.

I think your picture of the pizza pretty well shows the slight sloppiness in the centre problems!


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