Do Believe The Hype | Padella, 6 Southwark Street, London
Once again, we were late to the party, leaving it a little while for the hype to ease and the queues likewise. Padella, in case you don’t know, is a pasta bar by the same people as the wonderful Trullo in Highbury and their new place by Borough Market has gone down a storm – like massively.
I’ve walked past a billion times at midday when it’s quiet but without Ade, so I decided against sneaking in – I couldn’t enjoy it as much without him. That’s frustrating as the marble-topped counter seating makes it’s an ideal place to dine solo and take those oh-so Instagram-able pics.
Unfortunately there’s still a wait but with virtual queuing, you don’t have to stand out in the cold. We arrived at 6.20 and we’re told that the wait would be an hour and 45 minutes (I told Ade it was an hour and a half though as I knew he wouldn’t wait that long – sorry, Ade.) At 7.37, a text popped up on my phone telling us our table was ready, just as we were finishing our drinks at the nearby Mug House pub.
We knew Padella has been such a hit on the food front but we didn’t know much about the atmosphere or service. We anticipated it being a bit of a get the diners in and out conveyor-belt, but it wasn’t. The soundtrack was great (and not too loud) whilst all the staff that we encountered were great. Especially the excitable Raffaele who took great pleasure in taking the micky out of my strong dislike of cheese. Italians find it hard to get their heads around why someone could hate this particular food stuff and I totally get that – I truly wish I loved it too.
Padella is all about cheese. Even the infamous Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu (£9) that I had my eye on has cheese tucked away inside the meat. I ate this at Trullo so I may have unwittingly eaten the dreaded stuff, oops. I went for the Bruschetta with baked Cannellini beans and salsa rossa (£4.50) to start, healthy(ish) and comforting, something I may well try to recreate at home.
Ade had the Wiltshire burrata with Fiorano olive oil (£5), soft and creamy which Ade paired with their sourdough bread (£2), perfect for mopping up the oil. The wine list is short which is great but no description on notes and all that made it hard to know what’s what. throwing caution to the wind, we went with a carafe of Nero d’Avola (£18) from Sicily. We were surprised there were no Puglian wines seeing as the menu is somewhat influenced by the region.
Main dishes are all pasta and the servings are quite small so if you’re not anti-cheese like me, I’d advise you to share three dishes between two people (unless, of course, you’re not very hungry). Raffaele pointed me in the direction of the Pici cacio & pepe (£6.50) which I’d seen on Insta and liked the idea of the twisty-shaped pasta. I’ve found in Italian restaurants they steer you towards dishes that are already cheeseless, they’re not big on swapping out ingredients, which is fair enough but can make options pretty limited.
The pasta was great, lovely texture and the sauce robust and rich with tomatoes. I couldn’t help but watch Ade with envy as he ate the papadelle, looking over at me with that look that tells me just how good it is. I don’t see that expression often (especially at home), it’s the highest praise he can give. Some of Ade’s sourdough was saved for mopping up the juices – he didn’t want to leave any on the plate.
I was still hungry but that meant we could have all the desserts – or so I thought, I mean there’s only three to choose from (all £4 each). But as Ade was pretty satisfied we shared the glorious Salted caramel ice cream and Chocolate tart (sorry Pear & almond tart you didn’t make the cut) washed down with a shot of Limoncello (£3) each… ‘with cheese inside’ – yeah, good one Raffaele.
6 Southwark Street
London, SE1 1TQ
Monday to Saturday: 12:00 – 16:00 & 17:00 – 22:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 17:00
Nearest station: London Bridge (1 min walk)