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Hold the cheese

Pizza is a treat not often on offer to vegans. Most mainstream, mass-produced pizzas are heaped with dairy cheese and/or contain animal fats within their dough bases. Vegans have for a long time been excluded from this common snack, but there are more than a few places on the planet where you can get a nice slice free from non-human animal content.

One of my favourite restaurants in the world is the gorgeous and quaint Threeworlds Organic Cafe on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. This low key location sells the most delicious and nutritious pizzas I have tasted. Cruzer Pizza in Los Angeles has mastered the art of copying firm favourites such as meat lovers without hurting anyone. The Grove Cafe in Leeds, UK offers up a selection of pizzas topped with Vegerella vegan cheese. All of these restaurants have the good stuff, but I have always struggled to locate a pizza without cruelty in London. That was until Franco Manca came into my life.

Franco Manca in Brixton

Franco Manca is an expanding chain of pizza restaurants with locations currently in Brixton and Chiswick. Word in the community is the company is negotiating openings of three additional London locations during the coming months.

The Brixton store is a one minute walk from the vegan haven known as Ms. Cupcake. This pizza palace isn’t a vegan venue, but they can hold the cheese to create vegan-friendly options.

The staff of Franco Manca are extremely friendly and knowledgeable about what makes a vegan pizza vegan. They are forthcoming with assistance and advice, informing me I could enjoy any combination of toppings as long as I didn’t ask for cheese (the store currently does not serve a vegan cheese). With olives, oregano, wild mushroom and garlics on offer, I didn’t miss cheese at all.

Vegan pizza and beer

Josh and I were in need of a savoury hit after going hard at the Ms. Cupcake vegan bakery and Franco Manca filled the role perfectly.

Our sourdough crusts were baked to perfection in the purpose-built brick oven. The staff were just the right mix of friendly, helpful and discreet. Brixton is an incredibly vibrant area and we enjoyed our outside table that afforded us a terrific view of the passing crowds.

If pizza isn’t enough of a treat, Franco Manca in Brixton also sell Samuel Smith organic vegan lager by the bottle. Do I need to actually say I cradled one throughout my meal? You know me so well!

Visit the Franco Manca website for opening times and locations… and please inform me if you spot any other vegan pizza in London. A FGV can never enjoy too much pizza.

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Written by fatgayvegan

  1. Vegan pizza is also available at Otto, near Notting Hill Gate. They have one vegan pizza (with spicy cashew “cheese”) permanently on the menu, and usually a vegan special too.

    • Thanks Robb. I will make an effort to check them out.

  2. I second the Otto recommendation! I went for a vegan tasting night last year and they’re really helpful and wholly understand veganism. I also tried Franco Manca for a first time a few weeks ago (visiting Ms C too, obviously) and I’m a little bit in love. Their pizzas are really reasonable in price too.

    I’m curious about the place in Leeds! I bought vegerella once and it smelled like acetone and bounced when dropped (which I didn’t do on purpose- I just drop everything eventually). Does it change substantially when cooked?

    • Vegerella doesn’t really melt that well. The Grove Cafe pizzas are actually better without it I think. They do a fab garlic pizza/bread that is amazing. I have a blog post on them coming up in a few days.

  3. If you ever jump on the train to dip your toes in the sea in Brighton and feel like a pizza, check out Pizza Face http://www.pizzafacepizza.co.uk whilst they are not vegan they have vegan options and a gluten free crust too. Nice.

  4. Also, there is Dough in Manchester which has vegan cheese available, I think it’s Toffutti slices but was a bit drunk so I’m not sure.

  5. Pizza Express (in most towns) standard base and sauce has been vegan for several years. They’re generally pretty good with cross contamination and sometimes will give you extra toppings when you ask for no cheese/pesto. They are supposidly taking note of the number of votes they got for a vegan pizza to be added to the menu in a recent “competition”. They’ve always got some sort of 2 for 1 offer on, available here:


    • Thanks for the link Steven. Everyone loves a bargain.

  6. The Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green is a vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan options, their vegan pizza is made with Cheezly and at least one of the chefs is vegan. The atmosphere is lovely and cosy and they have jazz musicians in now and then.

    • Thanks for the reminder, Deborah. I have only had sandwiches from The Gallery Cafe and would love to try their pizza.

  7. […] packaged treats. You probably are also aware of the gorgeous vegan pizza options available from Franco Manca. I’ve even heard whispers of a new French vegetarian restaurant with vegan […]

  8. […] Extra note: I originally wrote about Franco Manca a few years ago when they didn’t have as many locations. You can see the post here. […]

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