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March 4, 2024

Francesca’s pizzas and paninis are here

The previous owner of Hey Bianca is opened a pizza and sandwich bar in Glenelg on Wednesday, and patrons can expect traditional styles with a Francesca's touch.

  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera
  • Above L—R: Nilavan Baskaran and Aman Takhar

When Aman Takhar opened his food delivery service Mlkman in 2015, he didn’t realise it would lead him to a fixation on the pizza industry.


728 Anzac Highway, Glenelg 5045
Sat—Thu: 11am ’til 9pm
Friday: 11am ’til 9:30pm


When UberEats launched in Adelaide in October 2016, Aman admits it was the inevitable fall of his independent food delivery service, but it sparked an idea.

“Through that, we noticed we had such a range of food, and especially in pizza. So you had your Australian style pizza, and you had now what you call these Roman style, Napoletana style pizzas when it wasn’t as big,” he says.

“So that was like your Tony Tomatoes and your Antica — Tony Tomatoes and Antica were the busiest on the app… we had cheaper pizza, but more people would buy higher quality, better food, better pizza.

“So, we thought, wow, there’s a massive trend and so that’s how I got into it and I was like, look, I already know all the customers that are buying, we can just sell them directly and build a whole system around delivering this style of pizza to them.

“And so we created [Hey] Bianca through that and the menu for [Hey] Bianca was the top-selling pizzas on the app and that created our menu.”

Nilavan and Aman visibly happy about their upcoming opening


Hey Bianca opened three takeaway stores including in the CBD, West Beach and Brighton, but Aman sold his share of the franchise a year ago.

He admits after selling the business, he “couldn’t stop thinking about pizza”.  So he, along with his business partners Nilavan Baskaran and Rommi Driscoll decided to open up Francesca’s on Wednesday.

“Francesca’s is an evolution of what we started at [Hey] Bianca,” Aman says.

“… All the experience that we have in the last five years has culminated into making a better product: so from our Napoletana to even the equipment that we’re using, it’s just an evolution of that.”

The pizza offering is in two styles: Sicilian and Neapolitan.

“Napolitana is a different dough — so we start from that. That’s sort of your round dough with big crust… so real basic ingredients, you don’t put too much stuff on it [unlike] Australian style pizzas,” Aman says.

“It’s cooked in a wood oven, so it’s like a quick fire, cooked very quickly and that’s where you get like the charry bubbles and so it’s soft and it should melt in your mouth.

“Sicilian is like a focaccia style pizza so it’s a square oblong pizza focaccia so it’s thicker [but] it still should be light and fluffy.”

Expect authentic Italian-style toppings, such as fresh mozzarella, but the pair assure us they’ll also be doing some interesting extras including the “gabagool” (with basil pesto and capocollo) and others with lamb.

“We’ve got a meat-lovers but it’s got the smoked speck on it [with] salami and a few other bits and pieces… we just didn’t want to do a smoky barbecue, but we’re doing some really interesting ones,” Aman says.

Though Francesca’s has a strong focus on pizzas, sandos with fresh focaccia bread cooked in-house will be available as a lunchtime offering.

“The style of panino that we want to do is a maximum of like four or five ingredients in there,” Aman says.

“It’ll fit in your mouth, it won’t fall to bits, the bread’s not so hard that your jaw’s sore from chewing — you bite into it with a little bit of chew.”

These sando fillings range from prosciutto with sanguinella, buffalo mozzarella, rocket and balsamic glaze to mortadella with pistachio cream and artichokes. Aman says these are “really interesting but very Italian deli-style sandwiches”.

The glorious, and brand new, wood oven


This lunch offering also includes pizza Portofino, traditionally eaten on the streets of Naples.

“It’s like wallet pizza… which will be a smaller pizza but it’s like folded into a triangle so it’s a quick service takeaway that will be available for lunch,” Aman says.

The blue-and-white themed space is small but despite takeaway being their main focus, there will be seating available both inside and outside.

As for the location, Aman says the pair was always looking for a place in Glenelg.

“We just found that this area is missing this style of pizza. It’s missing good quality pizza,” he tells CityMag.

“Now it’s a really convenient spot. The car parking was the most important part because our business has a lot of takeaway and delivery.

“We just wanted it to be super convenient for people to come here and be able to just park in, grab and go.”

Francesca’s is located at 728 Anzac Highway, Glenelg and will be open from Saturday to Thursday from 11am until 9pm, then on Friday from 11am until 9:30pm.

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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