Padella, Borough Market

I interrupt last summer’s throwback posts to bring you a true sensation of a restaurant.

It’s not glam, it’s not fine dining but it is the best pasta London has to offer and its roughness around the edges suits me just fine. If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough you’ll know I’m not a ‘white tablecloth’ kind of girl; give me a counter top, high chair and an honest plate of food any day.

Now, this so-called ‘best pasta London has to offer’ comes at a price (not literally, in fact, it really won’t break the bank) but word has spread quickly and the queues are dishearteningly long. If you won’t wait at least an hour then don’t bother arriving anytime after 7.

However, when we visited last week, they were trialling a ‘virtual queue’ which allows you to put down your name, go and have a drink elsewhere and then come back. And with Borough Market and its handful of wine bars next door, this is no great hardship. Settle down with a mulled cider and Padella will text you when your table is ready.

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When you finally secure a table, you might find your face looks a little like this:

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The menu is short but substantial, offering family favourites and more adventurous options.

Finding it truly impossible to choose, we pushed the boat out and ordered 4 dishes to share. They recommend at least 3 plates between 2 people, as they are slightly smaller than an average bowl of pasta.

First up, the the pappadelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu and the tagliarini with Dorset crab, chilli and lemon. We shared everything (as if there’s an alternative); the ragu was exceptional (D’s favourite) and the crab was my pick of the bunch. Perfect flavours with the freshest pasta and spot on seasoning.

This was going to be good.

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We paused to digest and eagerly awaited the next duo of dishes.

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The kitchen is open – much like many of London’s greatest restaurants, in my opinion – so you can observe the talented chefs at work. The passion and attention to detail is impossible to ignore, and a love of cooking and creating pasta perfection is clear for all to see.

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Next up, perhaps not the best looking of the bunch but my-oh-my was the pici cacio & pepe packed with flavour. A lot of black pepper, cheese and not much else, this is a traditional dish which Italians love and cannot be beaten.

A classic pasta dish.

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And the most fiery dish of all: the tagliatelle with Nduja sausage, mascarpone and parsley. Controversially, I’d skip this one next time. Although still perfectly cooked and weirdly moreish, it was so spicy that any other flavour was masked and therefore a little unbalanced.

I know there are people who love it, and I adore spicy food so that’s not the issue, but it just didn’t do it for me. It’s a pretty stunning plate of food though!

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By this point I was full to the brim but David soldiered on and took the courageous decision not to walk out the door without trying the carbonara. So brave.

We didn’t order it straight away because we reasoned that we could make it at home but it turns our we’re arrogant idiots. What appeared was nothing close to what we could replicate at home, and it was thoroughly delicious. Do not miss!

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The service is speedy – the waitresses are very aware of those queuing to get in – so it’s a great place for a quick bite. And it’s one you’ll want to return to time after time. Find them here:

Padella

6 Southwark Street
London
SE1 1TQ

No reservations

Monday to Saturday 12:00 – 16:00 & 17:00 – 22:00
Sunday 12:00 – 17:00

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