As I type this I'm fighting to hold my eyes open, suffering from a severe bout of post-prandial somnolence. In an effort to digest the masses of sourdough crust, cheese, tomato and pig products the activity of my parasympathetic nervous system has increased and the activity of the my sympathetic nervous system has decreased. The shift in the balance of autonomic tone towards the parasympathetic system has resulted in a subjective state of low energy and a desire to be at rest. In short I've got the food sleeps.
I've just come back from Franco Manca where greed got the better of my colleague and me and we ordered three 12" plus diameter pizzas between the two of us and polished them off, just. Franco Manca burst onto the scene some point last year in a flurry of amazing reviews. Folk waxed lyrical amount the sourdough bases and wood fired oven handbuilt and shipped in from Naples. People hopped on the tube to get there between the hours of 12pm to 5pm on a weekday and queued to get in. With all this hype the place had rather a lot to live up to and when my friend Lizzie (from Hollow Legs) told me about her meal there yesterday she said 'the pizza was good, but not as amaaaaazing as the hype suggests'.
I think this provided a bit of expectation management for me, a point of reference other than the hype, as I was blown away by the food today. I'd probably say it's the best pizza I've eaten in London. The stand out feature is definitely the sourdough crust, light and airy from the immense heat but with a chewy crumb which you can only get from a long fermentation, charred yet soft - I was flabbergasted when the bloke on the table next door left most of his crusts. For topping one had chorizo (Brindisa, dry and semi-dry), another anchovy, olive and caper one and finally the day's special of ham and artichoke. The chorizo was good, slices and lumps of the sausage, both yielding to the heat and releasing their paprika red oil all over the pizza. I sometimes feel that it takes over though, rendering every mouthful identical in flavour - even if that flavour's very nice. To moisten we had a glass of the red each, cheap at £1.40 a glass but a tad tannic for my palate, it went a lot better with the pizza than it did on its own though. All this came to a little over a tenner each. If we'd not been such gluttons, sticking to a single large pizza each, we'd be talking £8 for a fantastic meal.
Franco Manca4, Market Row