Monday 2 September 2019

Restaurant review: Franco Manca, St Paul's, London

My husband and I didn’t manage to do anything for our anniversary this year until more than two months later. He had a job interview for a fantastic new role (which he got) the day after, and had to prepare for a full day of interviews at the company’s offices, so didn’t want to go out the night before.

We rescheduled for a few weeks later and arranged for family to babysit but then one of us was ill (actually we took it in turns over a couple of weeks to all be unwell). So that got cancelled, and we never got around to rescheduling with one thing and another.

Once my husband started his new job he was working five minutes walk up the street from me - considering we work in London this is quite a coincidence! So we decided to meet for lunch one day and as we were eating, I realised this should count as a celebratory meal for our anniversary. I think it was actually our first meal out together without our daughter since our anniversary the year before!

We were walking near our offices wondering where to go as we didn’t have a lot of time and I

spotted Franco Manca- a pizza chain I’ve heard good things about but hadn’t been to before.

The pizzas use a sourdough base and were delicious - even the crust was good. They are surprisingly cheap as well, at least for a plain pizza - which really does only consist of a few not particularly expensive ingredients – but at £6.75 I was surprised at how cheap it was. They even have an option with no cheese – with just tomato, garlic, basil and oregano, for only £5. I had a pizza with chorizo and mozzarella – not that much more expensive at £8.25, and we shared a garlic bread with mozzarella (£4.95) which was actually totally unnecessary and not that dissimilar to the margherita my husband had to follow, but he loves garlic bread and always orders it.

The pizza and garlic bread were excellent and the only disappointment was the choice of soft drinks – it’s quite unusual for a chain restaurant not to have either the Coca-Cola or Pepsi range of drinks and I appreciate it’s nice to support smaller businesses but aside from water, the only cold drinks on offer were organic lemonade, Green cola, or orange, apple or cranberry juice – my husband ordered an orange juice but it was the ‘with bits’ variety which he doesn’t like. I hadn’t tried Green cola before and thought it tasted OK - it contains no sugar or aspartame and uses sweetener from stevia instead, and the caffeine comes from green coffee beans. It’s more natural therefore than some colas – I had a look on Google and found that the caffeine used in most soft drinks is synthetically produced in China. But I think my husband would have preferred a Coke Zero!

Service was quick and we were in and out within 40 minutes, leaving us time to get back to the office – I really enjoyed the pizza and the chance to have a meal with my husband in peace so I expect we will be going back!