Bosses at Franco Manca must be breathing a sigh of relief that the newly opened Giant Robot in Crossrail Place doesn’t have a pizza offering. Not that this really mitigates the arrival of Pizza Pilgrims, of course.

The brand has opened its latest branch in Canary Wharf serving up a sourdough version of the Italian treat.

It uses the Neapolitan wood burning oven technique developed by Greek settlers who founded the city now known as Naples in the fifth century.

We went along to sample its take on the ancient traditions and see what else it have to offer workers on the estate.

1 They are super speedy

Head chef Alessio Sallia

Head chef Alessio Sallia is originally from Sicily and learned how to make pizza from his father. He said on a busy day they make 600 in less than two hours.

He can stretch and top a pizza and get it in the 500C oven in less than 30 seconds and have it on the plate in under 90 seconds.

The 30-year-old from Streatham said: “We get everything here in small quantities, there are no vast vats of stuff. Most of the products are made in family businesses just for Franco Manca, so we are unique in the world.

2 Your taste buds will never get bored

Daily vegetarian special with fresh spinach, kalamata olives and Colton Bassett Stilton

A staple of six pizzas and two salads are always on the menu but there are specials every week including changing starters, desserts and a meat and vegetarian feast pizza.

When we go they are offering carnivores Franco And Lloyd mozzarella, organic tomatoes, baked aubergine, Gloucester Old Spot pancetta and watercress (£8.25).

Buffalo Mozzarella with Langhirano Coppa, Burrata Pugliese and House salad

Vegetarians have the option of Franco And Lloyd mozzarella, organic tomatoes, fresh spinach, organic kalamata black olives and Colston Bassett stilton (£8.15)

3 They have hidden talents

Waiter Anthony Kiama

Waiter Anthony Kiama was a semi-professional basketball player in Belgium before a serious knee injury halted his career and he decided to move to the UK. He now plays guard for the premier league for a team in Willesden Green.

The 26-year-old also studied built environment design at London South Bank University and said: “I’m a bit between things at the moment and trying to work out what I want to do. But I love working here and interacting with the customers. It feels like home.”

4 The drinks are pretty unusual

Franco Manca - Homemade drinks (Left to Right: Apple juice, lemonade and orange juice)

The wines are all organic and include a sparkling biodynamic chilled red wine - the Folicello Il Rosso Lambrusco Emilia, which tastes rather like an old fashioned dry cider. (£20 a bottle or £5.25 for 175ml).

The craft beer labelled No Logo on the menu is made especially for the chain and offers a choice of lager or pale ale (£3.45).

They also make their own non-sparkling lemonade on-site every morning using lemons, limes, a secret syrup and water. It is served in reusable bottles for £2.20. On a busy day they sell 40 litres of it.

Drinks selection

You can also get a fresh mint tea, naturally sparkling water, flame roasted coffee, limoncello, grappa and other drinks.

5 You can pick a spot to suit your mood


Up front you can watch the shoppers and office workers passing by through the large glass windows or see the chefs at work in the open plan kitchen.

If you want a spot for a lazy lunch head to the back where the sounds of the estate are muffled and the walls are hung with quirky darkly comedic art that should provide a talking point. Or if you really need to, escape outside to the terrace, which has views over the water.

Lemon dessert

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