Review: Franco Manca, Brighton Marina
Firstly, let's take a moment to appreciate the new developments made to Brighton Marina! I remember the days when it was somewhere you only went for bowling. Now, it's a hub of new restaurants and eateries with a variety of entertainment, from bowling to dancing, glow in the dark golf to casinos!
Brighton Girl were kindly invited last weekend to try one of the newest additions to Brighton Marina: Franco Manca. I had tried the pizza before in the central Brighton branch and have always been a big fan, so was excited to eat there with the addition of the beautiful marina view.
The Restaurant and Menu
Sat in the perfect location as one of the first restaurants on the strip, the iconic sign and design of the restaurant stands out right away. With to-the-point signs, the notorious specials blackboard, a mosaic pizza oven and exposed piping, I personally love the style. We were lucky enough to go on a blazing hot day last weekend and so we sat outside, but I loved the touch of blankets over every chair in case of those cool southern breezes.
The menu is simple and to the point. Six pizzas, two salads and a small selection of wine. I particularly love the 'no logo' beer and cider that they serve. The specials board also had two options: one for meat-eaters and one for vegetarians alongside a selection of toppings that you could add to your pizza.
Fanny opted for a number three: courgette, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta with franco and cantarelli grana. This is one of their 'white' pizza served with no tomato, which the waitress was sure to check was okay (something I presume can cause problems if customers don't read it properly). The pizza came out looking fit for a summers day; with plenty of charred courgettes and a generous serving of cheeses to match the lack of tomato. Slightly sparce with the crispy basil, but well balanced.
I went for a simple but classic number two: tomato, mozzarella and basil with an extra of wild mushrooms. Again, mine came with just three basil leaves which had lost some of their flavour in the cooking. I would have loved to have a bit more to match the selection of creamy cheese and sweet tomato topping.
The pizzas at Franco Manca are cooked perfectly for me, good leoparding and a crispy crust with a soft inside to soak up all the flavours. I have been told that this isn't everyone's cup of tea (some people love a deep pan), but the cooking was spot on and the size generous!
The team at Franco Manca didn't actually know that we had been invited along, but you wouldn't have known; they were attentive and welcoming from the beginning of our meal. Offering us water on arrival and providing information on the menu, they made sure to check on us regularly and at the end of the meal we didn't feel rushed (which can be all too common in popular Brighton restaurants). The addition of extras weren't questioned at all and the service was fast and efficient.
The little touches on the table were simple but didn't go unnoticed. Each table has a metal tin filled with cutlery and napkins, and a menu is there waiting for you. making it perfect for a quick lunch stop. Delicious chilli and garlic oil are also on the table; I don't often add extra oil to things but I have to recommend a pool of these on your plate to dip your pizza into. An extra, personalised element to your meal that is simply delicious.
We weren't asked for information on allergies at any point. Pizzas were cooked in the same, beautiful, wood burning oven and there was no offer of gluten-free bases to be seen. However, there are a good range of pizzas for both meat eaters and vegetarians, and the staff were very happy to make changes to topping.
If you head over to their website, you can find additional information on where their ingredients come - an extra little touch that simply shows what Franco Manca is all about.
Written by Amara. You can find more from Amara on her blog Brighton Born and Bread.
Photography by Fanny. You can find more of Fanny's photography on her website.