Padella has been knocking it out of the park since it opened in back in April 2016. A simple pasta spot on the outside of Borough Market and from the folks behind Trullo, an Italian restaurant in Islington with an exceedingly good reputation of its own.
Just serving up homemade pasta with exceptional sauces, it has a small, concise menu with a few starters, the pastas and a couple of desserts. If carbs aren't your thing, I'd give this one a miss.
This is another spot I went to back when it opened and never wrote about. To busy stuffing my face to think about recording it.
Harri and I decided it was high time for another lunch date, the sun was shining and it was a perfect day to try and bag a spot in their lovely window. Harri and I have probably tried to go to Padella about 5 times together, Harri very much has Italy in her heart and so when I (and all of London) raved about the pasta we knew we had to go together. I certainly wasn't going to pass up another chance to visit!
Being the footloose and fancy free freelancers that we are, we picked to go for a later lunch to avoid the queue and the rush. For those that hate a queue, Padella is deceptive. They have another, much larger, dining space downstairs. So if the queue looks huge, fret not, not only is the pasta worth the wait, it will also probably go quicker than you think.
Inside you take you seat at the marble counters, either in front of the chefs, or at the big window. Not only are they a part of the wonderfully simple decor but the counters also become the pasta making benches when the doors are closed. If you pass by in the morning you might very well see the pasta taking shape. Downstairs they have another bar but also larger tables that are easier to fit a group around.
Arriving late as usual, Harri had already bagged a great spot at the window. Even though we arrived at 3 there were still a fair number of people finishing up their lunch. We eyed up the menu and obviously wanted to order everything, but that would be greedy, so we just settled with 3 pastas.
The pastas arrived in a flurry and Harri got to work... So I sat, like a drooling puppy watching her, and took a picture of her doing her thang.
The first guy I shall introduce is the Fettuccine with nduja, mascarpone and parsley (£6.5). This was a knockout, seriously punchy with the earthy, chilli nduja and a fabulous fluffy mound of parmesan.
For anyone who is afraid of spice this isn't the one for you, nduja is not for the fainthearted. The pasta though is the real star of the show. So well made and so far removed from dried pasta you wonder why you even bother eating the stuff at home.
Next was the Tagliarini with nettles, nutmeg, parmesan and egg yolk (£10.5). This was superb, the nutmeg was so well judged. The yolk breaks to make the sauce that much richer, winding its way down over the pasta. I assumed nettles would be slightly like spinach, but the flavour is much more delicate making it a very light dish.
Gratuitous yolk shot with some dreadful pasta twirling by me. Terrible assisting.
Then 3rd up, this guy who has gotten a strong reputation as being the best cacio & pepe sauce in town. Wriggly, fat worms of pici in the creamy pepper sauce that literally has me salivating now just writing this. Harri had to be coaxed into trying this as the fat doughy pasta shapes aren't really her thing, she likes a thin pasta. However, judging by the grin on her face when she'd taken a mouthful, I'm pretty sure she's a convert.
Again, perfectly made, exceptionally cooked. These guys can do no wrong when it comes to pasta. "Best pasta outside of Italy " - Harriet Raper (and this girl knows what she's talking about)
We wolfed down pretty much everything. We left a touch of the strong njuda pasta, it was a really punchy sauce! I was pretty much licking the plate of the pic cacio & pepe clean. I could eat it 100x over!
We finished up with a couple of macchiatos and took our leave. Strolling out into the sunshine for a wander around Borough Market and Bermondsey, which has such a striking mix of old and new buildings. Tiny pubs hidden down little roads and big old factories now being made into chic flats. Through Kings College Campus and back over Tower Bridge onto the right side of the river. Definitely the perfect way to walk off our pasta bellies!
If you haven't been to Padella I suggest you just drop everything and go now. Honestly it's an order.
If you love the photos on here as much as I do, you can see more of Harri's photos on her website here or give her a follow on instagram too, for daily uploads of a perfectly captured world.