This past Saturday was one of those really relaxing days followed by phenomenal food. It was pouring down rain for most of the day so we had a bit of a lazy one – had a lie in, caught up on all our shows, cleaned up our flat, lazed on the couch some more until the rain stopped, we were starving and needed to get out. Our restaurant of choice for dinner was Padella – a relatively new Italian restaurant located in the iconic Borough Market in Southwark.
I had read so many rave reviews about Padella, including a glowing review from Grace Dent in the Standard, that I had to try it out myself. Padella is the brainchild of Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, the duo behind Highbury’s famous Italian restaurant Trullo. The menu is simple and you’ll be happy to find that it’s quite affordable, with the most expensive dish being a little less than £10.
The interior is compact, with a few window seats that are perfect for people watching or for avid photographers looking to grab some snaps near the natural light. There are also a few seats around the bar where guests are able to see all the cooking in action. The decor is minimal, with black and white accents, honeycomb tile, marble topped ledges and gorgeous vintage Vogue magazine covers gracing the walls. Cool, drop ball lighting hangs from above the window seats, that completes the totally simple, yet Instagram worthy interior of this lovely Italian spot.
From the moment we sat down, memories of my high school days in New Jersey came flooding in and for good reason. My best friend is Italian and every time I would go over to her house after school, her mom would always insist on cooking for us – even if we weren’t hungry. It was endearing. The service at Padella was no different. The servers were attentive and always asked us if we needed anything or wanted more food. It’s the Italian way and I loved it.
What to order, what to order? Although the menu is simple, it was still difficult to decide amongst so many incredible options. Burrata is our favourite so we went with an order to start off with and a glass of the Nero D’Avola red wine for me.
The bread was buttery and straight out of the oven delicious and the burrata was creamy and melted in our mouths.
After a lot of debate over which pasta to order, I decided to go with our server’s recommendation of the Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter Shin Ragu – it is Padella’s signature dish. Fresh, thick ribbons of pasta with a ragu that was tender and bursting with flavour and all I could think of was WOW. This pasta is special. It is hand rolled right in front of your eyes and evidently made with a great deal of love.
Ciaran ordered the Tagliatelle with ndjuda and parsley. This dish is ideal for those who prefer a hint of spice. The pasta was coated to perfection with a spicy ndjuda sauce that we both agreed we’d love to try our hand at making at home. The pasta, to me, tasted incomparable to any I’d ever had before. It was fresh and each bite was better than the last.
There are two desserts on the menu and the almond and rhubarb tart had caught my eye, however, one of the other great aspects of Padella (among many) is that it is on the doorstep of Borough Market, so we opted to go for a stroll and indulge in a few sweets from there afterwards.
All of the dishes, including the simple starter of burrata were perfection. We so often go out to Italian restaurants where it is evident that the pasta is not hand-made right there in the kitchen. Padella’s pasta is genuinely fresh and it is obvious that it is made with a lot of love and pride. I’ve never been to Italy and have never had pasta there, but what I will say is that this is some of the best pasta I’ve had in my life thus far. There’s something to be said for simple, home-made and hearty food – it warms the soul and makes you happy and that’s what Padella does.
6 Southwark Street
London, SE1 1TQ