The only thing better than pizza is heart-shaped pizza.
Franco Manca has been my favourite pizza place in London for ages. Their combination of melted mozzarella, perfect tomato sauce and signature squishy sourdough crust (try saying that five times fast) is just something else.
Gary and I first discovered them a couple of weeks after we started dating, back in 2013. His flatmate had been telling us about this awesome pizza place where the food was insane, but you couldn’t book and the queues were always round the block.
We visited their Southfields branch (where I was living at the time), and I fell totally in love. I’ve been raving about them ever since. (I even got featured in Buzzfeed for it!)
So when Gary and I were invited down to try their Valentine’s Day special deal, we couldn’t say no!
We headed out to the Tooting Market branch, which was surprisingly not busy for a Friday night. They don’t take bookings, so you can usually expect a bit of a wait at most of their sites.
It’s not a pretty restaurant, by any stretch of the imagination, which I’ve found it pretty standard for Franco Mancas across the board. They’re all about substance over style, and aim to please your belly rather than your eyes. (Which is great for my belly, but not so great for my blog photos!)
For Valentine’s Day this year, they’re offering a date night deal of £30 for two heart-shaped pizzas, two desserts and a bottle of their organic house wine.
Which is a total bargain if you ask me!
The pizzas are all individually hand-stretched and shaped, then baked in a proper stone pizza oven, which makes the crust crispy on the outside, and softly chewy on the inside.
For toppings, Gary ordered his with anchovies, capers and olives, while I went for my usual choice of Spanish chorizo, with an added drizzle of my favourite garlic oil.
Honestly though, the toppings are just the icing. The main player here is the sourdough crust.
I’m a woman of many (many) words, but even I don’t have enough to explain how much I love it. I could quite happily just eat it on its own. Dipped into garlic oil and served with their excellent wine, that would be a DREAM dinner for me!
I’d never actually tried the desserts at Franco Manca before (I’m usually more of a starters girl!), but holy lemon cake I think I’m converted.
They only had two options on the menu, so we ordered one of each to try. The tiramisu was OK, but nothing special and I’d not bother ordering it again.
However. The lemon and rosemary cake, served with honey yoghurt, was something else!
Moist, light, and packing one hell of a lemony punch, I’m already desperate to try recreating it at home. I love adding herbs to cakes, and this works perfectly, especially with the sharp yoghurt.
Definitely one to try again!
So yeah, if you’ve not tried Franco Manca yet, you reaaaally should!
The £30 Valentine’s deal will be available from the 13th to the 15th of February, but even on a regular day, the prices are amazing. Pizzas go from £6 to £8, depending on the toppings, and the cheapest bottle of wine is both organic and just £15.
How’s that for a cheap date night!
So if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day date with great food, a chilled atmosphere, and a budget-friendly bill at the end of it, have a look at Franco Manca.
*We were guests of Franco Manca for this visit.
All photos, words and crust-loving are my own!
MORE VALENTINE’S DATE NIGHT SUGGESTIONS:
*Fancy Chinese food with a view at Min Jiang (South Kensington)
*Dirty burgers and gravy at Dip & Flip (various locations)
*Fancy snacks and cocktails at the OXO Tower Bar (Southwark)