I took my good old pal Chris with me to the Franco Manca Southampton event. I hate going alone and I’m the diva that demands a plus one. Chris is a fan of this place he’s been to a couple before but I never had so as a person with Italian blood i was excited to attend this event.
With the opening of the new West Quay Watermark I’ve attended a lot of events recently and it’s hard not to compare them against each other. If you saw my review on The Real Greek you would have seen I rated it as the best meal I’d ever had. That title has now been taken. As most white girls do, I love pizza and I love wine. Now while my preferred choice of wine is something cheap and sweet I had the privilege of speaking to the Wine Connoisseur that hand picks all of the wine specifically for Franco Manca. Being someone who knows nothing about wine other than the price, I wasn’t looking forward to being introduced to him as I felt slightly out of place. However this being said he was lovely, he talked us through the wine in terms that even I understood and gave us this little number to try.
I cannot even begin to explain how easy this went down. Full of flavour, completely organic and just beautiful. Chris seemed to have more of an idea of what to do with it, I was more concerned about not downing it like a lad and asking for more. We mentioned how much we loved this bottle so we were given one to take home (yay)!
Now let’s talk about food. So if you know me, you’ll know I bloody love cheese. The starters were a selection of cheeses, meat and bread that were shared around the table. OH MY GOODNESS this was amazing. One of the cheeses was mozzarella stuffed with MORE MOZZARELLA! Let that sink in, it’s as great, if not better than it sounds.
Moving onto mains, we were lucky enough to meet the man that introduced Franco Manca to the UK Mr Giuseppe Mascoli. He was lovely enough to sign a recipe book for us, as well as offering a master class in how to create the perfect sourdough pizza. Obviously I was too anxious to go and have a go but watching other people have fun, is the type of fun I’ve become accustom to. You can see your pizza’s being made in front of your eyes from sourdough that has been left for at least 20 hours to ferment before being crafted into a beautiful pizza with organic hand picked ingredients.
Chris and I spent time talking with the restaurant manager who was an absolute delight. It’s nice to have a conversation with someone who is passionate and loves what they do, yet they don’t ram salesy information down your throat. I have so much to say about this place. While the food is AMAZING like go there right now kinda amazing. The story behind it is amazing. There is thought and authenticity in everything they produce. From going to Italy to hand pick the tomatoes to be crushed into the rich tomato base, by just adding salt and removing the skins (amazing) to being a very chilled venue that oozes Italian vibes.So much thought has gone into creating the perfect experience for all. From spending god knows how much on a beautifully tiled wood fire that runs at a temperature of 500 degrees, to the hand crafted Italian paddles used to slide the pizzas in and out of the beautifully crafted oven, for them to be cooked in under 90 seconds.
There is not a single fault for this place, I will be back very soon. From a bloggers point of view, the goody bag that we were sent away with was amazing, we were given more wine – we swapped ours for a sparking red (that’s right sparkling red wine!) as well as chilli oil and a variety of other goodies.
Ben fatto Franco Manca!
10/10 recommendation for this unique, breathtaking restaurant.