Ok, a little confession to start with. I’m not the greatest fan of pizza. I did go through a phase of liking deep dish pizza but I suspect that I’ve developed a Pavlovian dislike for pizza as I ate a lot of it on the run (sometimes literally!) in the middle of very long shifts as a junior doctor.
There have been exceptions to the rule like when Emma and I found a wonderful takeaway pizza place in Venice which topped their simple bread with the most vibrant simple, fresh ingredients but generally, I’ve found even famous places like Homeslice in London fail to really excite me.
Franco Manca has a great reputation in London for their Naples-style sourdough pizza cooked in their artisan wood-burning oven. They had humble beginnings in a small shop in Brixton but they have started to open branches all over London in the last year.
I was meeting a friend in Wimbledon and we decided to give Franco Manca a try. They have a no reservation policy but we got a table easily at 8pm on a Monday evening .
The service was quick and friendly. There is a choice of 6 pizzas with 2 specials on the board though you can customise your pizza to your heart’s content with a list of ingredients on the back of the menu sheet.
I did enjoy watching the chefs produce the pizzas in the open kitchen. The slow-rising dough is proofed in wooden boxes and it’s fun to watch the chefs stretch and toss the dough into round pizza bases before loading them with ingredients.
We started with burrata, the creamier cousin of mozzarella, which gets its creaminess with the addition of cream to the cheese-making process. It was excellent on top of fresh tomatoes, arugula and bread.
Then onto the pizza. I may just have found a pizza that I can say that I like in London. The sourdough is flavoursome and while I like crunch in my pizza base, the chewy texture and flavour actually agreed with my palate. The toppings were just right – I’m definitely over the over-loading deep dish style. Here, the balance between tomato, cheese and meat was perfect.
Food: ★★★★★ Service: ★★★★★ Ambiance: ★★★★☆ VFM: ★★★★☆ Overall: ★★★★★
Price: No more pricey that similar pizza chains and for much better food
20 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1RE