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.