It’s the worst kept secret in the world that I have a pizza addict in my 7 year old son. I swear he would eat pizza every day given half a chance. Please tell me I’m not alone in this. I keep telling him that one day I’ll take him to Italy so he can see how wonderful a really authentic Italian pizza tastes. But until I’ve saved up a few pennies, we went for the next best thing and had dinner at the newly opened Franco Manca Oxford.
Franco Manca Oxford opened on George Street, Oxford on 14th August and is the latest pizzeria of Franco Manca Neapolitan pizzeria company. It’s not a name I’d heard of before so I had no idea what to expect. We’d had a busy day riding the Flying Scotsman at Didcot Railway Centre and were ready for a good meal by the time we arrived in Oxford.
The restaurant is bright and airy and was buzzing with customers when we were there. There’s a minimalist and simplistic feel to the place, but it still has a warmth to it. I also have to say that the staff were welcoming, efficient and friendly. A breath of fresh air actually.
As we sat down I could show my son the pizza oven and he watched as the chef placed the various sourdough pizzas within to cook. He was mesmerised.
Everything about Franco Manca Oxford is stripped down and focussed on good, fresh food. There are no thrills, and this goes from the menus through to the no logo beers and even the pizzas are known by numbers rather than names.
Something that did surprise me was the lack of a children’s menu. That seemed a little strange if I’m totally honest. My 7 year old has a fairly good appetite but even he struggled with the large pizza and garlic bread starter. I’m sure it would put some families off trying Franco Manca Oxford, which actually, would be a shame, as the food was really good.
It was a hot day (yes we did have a couple in August) and the organic lemonade, apple juice and no logo lager were much welcomed as we waited for our food to be prepared.
For starters, my son opted for the Garlic Bread, I went for the Burrata Pugliese (mozzarella filled with cream) and Daddy P decided we could all try the Sharer Platter with a selection of Langhirano’s cured meat and wild pig fennel salami.
All tasted wonderful. The garlic bread would really have been enough for two of us, but it was full of flavour. My starter was devine and I would thoroughly recommend it.
There were a range of specials available, which are changed daily but we all decided to try pizzas from the main menu.
It was no surprise that my son opted for a number 2 – tomato, mozzarella and basil, although he requested that this be removed.
Daddy P went for a number 4 with Gloucester Old Spot ham, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and wild mushrooms.
I was intrigued to try the number 7 – with spicy lamb sausage, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, yellow Piennolo tomato and fresh basil. It should come with no tomato but I asked for a little on the base.
There wasn’t a sound coming out of my son, always a good sign. He tucked in happily to his pizza, telling me how lovely it tasted.
Daddy P and I decided to share our pizzas so we could enjoy them both. The spicy lamb sausage was really tasty and had a building heat to it, which I enjoyed. But the number 4 was just as good, so full of flavour. Two empty plates later and we both agreed that we’d enjoyed out first Franco Manca Oxford experience.
It would have been rude not to sample the desserts though wouldn’t it, so I went for my favourite,Tiramisu, Daddy P tried the Lemon Almond Cake and my son had the Vanilla Ice Cream. A Latte and Cappuccino helped to finish the meal nicely.
We’d had a thoroughly enjoyable time at Franco Manca Oxford and I’m sure we will return again in the future. You can view the full menu on the Franco Manca website, along with the locations for all the restaurants. There are also local take away options available.
disclosure: we were given a complimentary meal with drinks in exchange for an honest review