| Does a pizza by any other name taste as good?
That fact that Chiswick has more than its fair share of pizza restaurants already could make one wonder what real difference Franco Manca could bring to place them a slice above the rest.
Experience could be the key as the people behind the High Road's newest pizzeria are the same as those who owned the site's previous ill-fated incumbent, Eco.
Speaking just after Eco's opening, manager Charmaine Wassif, daughter of Egyptian restaurateur Sami Wassif, told ChiswickW4.com, "It’s not really about the pizza it’s a different kind of understanding of the dough, the flour all the ingredients. The food is coming from someone who really knows their stuff."
Charmaine took 18 months to perfect Eco's interior with its wavy ceiling and striking stained glass windows but it wasn't enough to save Eco and sister operation Esca filed for bankruptcy. Clearly undeterred, her father Sami is now backing Franco Manca although it is ‘pizza fascist’ Guiseppe Mascoli who is named as the face of this new Chiswick venture.
Mascoli shipped in Italian artisans to build a replica of the wood-burning stoves found in his native town of Naples as he believes the oven is the thing which makes Franco Manca a slice above the competition.
And, just like the Wassif's, Mascoli is obsessed with dough, not the folding kind, but the sourdough that forms the base of his pizzas. "Crucially the base is not made from yeast; it is made from a starter culture" he says. Apparently a kind friend ‘borrowed’ it from a bakery on the island of Ischia in the bay of Naples.
December 22, 2009