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Voodoo Ray’s and Franco Manca
Voodoo Ray’s and Franco Manca
Fri, 23/09/2016 - 11:35
Published:22 September, 2016
by TOM MOGGACH
IT'S not your average Leicester Square pizzeria,” says chef Finbar Curran, showing off the brand new Voodoo Ray’s in Camden Market.
I’ll admit this was my second pizza in two days, after a supper at the new Franco Manca opposite Kentish Town tube.
The styles of the two pizzerias could not be more different. Voodoo Ray’s celebrates the new wave “slice culture” of New York, while Franco Manca oozes the timeless traditions of Naples.
For hipsters in Hackney, Voodoo Ray’s is a familiar destination – a popular neon-lit haunt above a club in Kingsland Road. At weekends it serves slices, craft beers and cocktails until 3am, with the place often as packed as the dancefloor below.
This move west is a brassy one, joining the wave of young restaurateurs snapping up leases in Camden Market, which is currently repositioning as a food destination not dissimilar to Borough Market.
New York-style pizza is eaten by the slice. The “pies” are cooked in advance, then each order given a quick warming blast in the electric oven. Toppings are imaginative. King Tubby is loaded with fennel and chilli sausage, kale, cherry tomatoes and caramelised onions.
The Rubanesque is a twist on the salt beef sandwich, with sauerkraut, emmental, mozzarella, Russian dressing and parsley.
Eating by the slice has distinct advantages – not least the ability to sample various flavours.
Ingredients are high quality; the dough boasts a nice bounce in the crust and crunch to the base.
They offer dips, too, such as barbecue or sour cream and chive – a concept heretical to the Neapolitan tradition, where a drizzle of chilli oil is as decadent as it gets.
You’ll find Voodoo Ray’s in the North Yard near the Proud Gallery. Prices are reasonable, at £4 a slice (£3.50 for regular cheese and tomato).
Desserts include dinky ice cream sandwiches such as their take on the Negroni with cacao nibs and a lick of bitter marmalade.
Meanwhile, Franco Manco in Kentish Town is the latest outpost from a business expanding lightning fast across the capital.
This branch follows the same winning recipe. At the back left, a gorgeous, tiled oven roars with beech logs. The Italian chefs prod and stretch their famous sourdough with near-religious reverence.
Here the dough is far more soft. This is authentic for the style, although personally I enjoy a bit of crunch.
Just like Voodoo Ray’s, pricing is kind – from £4.50 to £7.95 for the meat special with wild pig fennel salami, goats’ curd, spinach and their own Somerset mozzarella.
Which of these two pizzerias is best? It’s a personal choice with no neat answer.
Voodoo Ray’s is certainly pitched at a younger crowd. If you’re feeling lazy, they offer delivery via Deliveroo.
Franco Manca is definitely best for a more leisurely meal. Alas, all takeaways must be picked up in person.
Unit 92/1 North Yard
Chalk Farm Road, NW1
020 7267 1093
337 Kentish Town Road, NW5
020 3026 5715