Author Topic: Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)  (Read 2724 times)

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Offline Pizza Rustica

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Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:44:41 PM »
Thought you all might enjoy this article from Bloomberg. It rates Franco Manca (Marco's pizzeria project) the best in London. Very nice article. Perhaps Marco can share some additional information on the techniques employed in using a starter in a commercial operation.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601093&sid=ayxxDLRpiaRI&refer=home
« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 11:48:24 PM by Pizza Rustica »
Russ


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 08:18:46 AM »
Russ,

Marco does a good job keeping the membership up to date on the reviews of Franco Manca, as he did recently at Reply 57 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6371.msg63683.html#msg63683. But, I, too, would like to learn more about how a natural starter is maintained and used in a commercial setting. In the past, Marco has said that using a natural starter in a commercial setting is the "most difficult to do and needs a peculiar methodology and often tools to obtain consistent results" (Reply 593 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.msg59871.html#msg59871). He also mentioned elsewhere that in a pizzeria setting he would leave the starter at room temperature and feed it every 12 hours (see Reply 27 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1415.msg13479/topicseen.html#msg13479). As far as the dough itself is concerned, it will usually be necessary to control the dough fermentation temperature as the seasons change, as by using cellars during the summer (Reply 61 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1298.msg12548/topicseen.html#msg12548). With all the variables, it must take a lot of skill and experience to use natural starters in a commercial setting under ambient temperature conditions.

Peter

Offline Pizza Rustica

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Re: Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 08:52:35 PM »
Pete-zza,

Sorry for the delay in responding but, coincidentally several days after posting this I found myself in London. Why not continue the query and actually try a pizza at Franco Manca, I thought.

During our weeks stay, I asked several cab drivers and our hotel concierge about Brixton, the part of London where Franco Manca is located. All shared the same response, be careful!! Do not go at night, Some recommended not going there at all, which did nothing to increase in my wife's already minimal enthusiasm. There is a reason they are only open from 12-5 each day I found out. On a Saturday, I finally convinced her to go. All was well on the cab ride over, about 20+ english pounds or $30 plus dollars from central London. It was not easy to find as it is located inside a older building complex with many small markets, shops,etc. Its not a location you just stumble into, but rather a destination you must truly want to find.

Upon seeing Franco Manca we were quite surprised to see a rather substantial line in the middle of our walkway. Franco Manca's two small eating areas are straddled in between the main walkway of the shops. A line of 25 people waited for their turn to eat at one of the small tables. The outdoor temp was in the low 40 degree range at this time. All tables but two were outdoor with some heat, but not much. There are probably 10 tables total with a few seated as family style. Keep in mind this was at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday. It took us 20 minutes or so to finally get seated and during our wait in line the very busy waiter took our order - a margherita and a pizza with organic pork and some chorizo. I chatted up the waiter a bit and even asked if Marco was there, since after reading all his posts I felt it would be great to actually meet him. Unfortunately, he was not there.

The pizza's were about 10-11". The Margherita had good oven spring and thick crust, the meat pie was a little flat with much less oven spring. I noticed as they put the dressed skin on the peel it was very wet. Charring was very common although a few looked to be excessive, but ours was just fine. I think the low dome can play into too much charring if the actual flames are too great. The cheese was excellent and both my wife and I enjoyed the flavorful sauce. The sauce had evidence of seeds in the sauce as they were not strained out. According to earlier posts by Marco I believe they use just sauce and salt. I would concur with this.

The crust was very flavorful and you could taste the ischia starter in the crust. It seemed to have a relatively high salt content. Overall very enjoyable experience. Prices at Franco Manca are very reasonable (cheap). Perhaps due to the area since the demographics do not dictate high price points. Interesting business model, find existing pizzeria that did not make it, replace with superior product, cheap price, get huge reputation and grow the business. Some people we spoke to in line did not come there for the reputation just good pizza and cheap prices, others had come because they had heard about it.

Other notes:

In chatting with the waiter, they use a temp controlled proofing area for the dough, 500 centigrade oven (over 900 degrees). Also, they use wooden proofing boxes, but the bottoms looked to be metal. I did not get a clear look at them. Their menu states proofing for 20 hours plus. The waiter indicated they will do between 300-350 pizzas on a Saturday. I would agree as in the space of time we were there I saw a tremendous volume go out the oven.

 I see lots of growth for Franco Manca in the future. If they can make it in Brixton they can make it anywhere! Hey that sounds like a catchy tune??

One other thing. Catching a cab back is almost impossible. Either take the London Tube (subway), there is a station very close, or plan on arriving at lunch time to give yourself plenty of time to get out of there before dark. Its not the type of area you want to be in after 5:00.

Overall, excellent pizza, good job Marco.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 08:56:41 PM by Pizza Rustica »
Russ

Offline Pizza Rustica

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Re: Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2008, 09:03:07 PM »
A few more pics of franco Manca!
Russ

Offline ModernLook

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Re: Italian chef scours London for the perfect pizza (Franco Manca)
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2009, 02:09:59 PM »
Think you found the perfect pizza---or at least the perfect pizza photo--love the rustic crust!


 

pizzapan