Franco Manca: rising on the slow side

I first came across Franco Manca 3 years ago, when they opened their branch on Tottenham Court Road. It was quite a craze then. My friends and I had to try the pizzas. The pizzeria boasted slow rising sourdough, cooked over a wood fired oven. The pizzas were reasonably priced at around £6, and there was the homemade lemonade. I only remembered that I was not so overly impressed by the pizza, as the pastry was somewhat chewy.

Year later, Franco Manca opened their branch at Belsize Park. I gave the sourdough pizzas another try. I don’t know what has changed, the food or me, this time I loved the pizzas.

I have always been impressed by its simple and minimalist menus.

Franco Manca was offering a set menu: pizza, a glass of bubbly, either an appetiser or a dessert, plus a cup of coffee or tea, only for £15. To us, it was a great offer. We started with some appetisers: antipasti, mozzarella and ricotta  resting on top of salads. Beautiful.

Then it came the pizzas. Previously I found Franco Manca dough a bit chewy, but these ones were perfect. Top the pizzas with some chilli infused olive oil, it was a marriage made in heaven. There are six main types of pizzas on the menu, but you can add extra toppings or design your own.

I particularly enjoyed the freshly made pesto added on top of the pizza. Highly recommend.

We loved the fresh pesto so much, we asked for more to be brought to the table. It was the best pesto I had.

After the main, we had some dessert, If I recall correctly, it was honey comb cake, very tasty with cream. I am aware that different branches of Franco Manca may offer slightly different desserts.

To finish everything, we had some coffee. As usual I wanted to have my soya flat white. Well, that’s something they didn’t offer, but the latte was pretty good. Gave the coffee 10 out of 10.

Franco Manca, Belsize Park, was so good. I would definitely recommend the place to others. Another good thing about the place is that this branch accepts bookings, unlike some central branches. The food was good, the service was swift. I loved the whole dinning experience. We were so full by the end , and had a couple of slices of leftovers. Unexpectedly, they packed the leftover pizzas in a takeaway box without us asking for them. I thought packing away the leftovers was only a common practice of Asian restaurants. It was a pleasant surprise. Some yummy pizza for lunch the next day.

Next time you are around Hampstead London, do scout out this place.

Lastly, I do know Franco Manca Chiswick branch offers pizza making lessons. If you fancy learning how to make pizzas, why not give it a go?