In a nutshell: Padella’s short menu features eight handmade, fresh pasta dishes, inspired by the greatest hits that have made Padella’s sister restaurant Trullo in Highbury one of the most accomplished and respected neighbourhood restaurants in London. With a laidback atmosphere and reasonable prices, Padella is the perfect place to escape the tourists at Borough market.
Who’s cooking: Tim Siadatan is heading up the kitchen. One of the first people to graduate from the Jamie Oliver Fifteen scheme, he has since cooked in kitchens all over the world. On his return to London, Tim worked at La Fromagerie in Marylebone where he was given the freedom to create delicious, small plates using any of the produce sold on site. In 2010, he teamed up with Jordan Frieda to launch Trullo, a simple, Italian-inspired restaurant with seasonal produce as the hero.
Menu know how: You know you are in for a treat when you walk past Padella and see the pasta being rolled out in the window just hours before service. Showcasing classic Italian techniques, the simple menu is built around slow-cooked sauces and ragus from the duo’s travels around Italy – we are not just talking about the finest Italian restaurants, Tim and Jordan were eating in the locals’ kitchens too!
What’s the room like: Designed to be a pasta bar, Padella is split over two levels. The buzz of the open kitchen makes an immediate impact when you first walk in on the ground floor. Counter seating runs the entire length of the restaurant, making it perfect to pop in for a quick bite. Aromas of rich, slow-cooked sauces set the tone, as you make your way down to the more intimate low-lit dining room. More metal counter seating runs along the sleek bar, with a handful of tables and bespoke pendant lights creating a cosy space.
Must orders and misfires: With traditional Italian flavours at the heart of the menu, from Dexter beef carpaccio to bruschetta with baked borlotti beans, there’s plenty to please. Burrata fans won’t be disappointed – the Italian classic is sourced by artisan supplier L’Emporio fine foods and simply drizzled with Tuscan Chiarentana estate olive oil. Traditional pici cacio e pepe, a simple, yet brilliantly executed dish of parmesan, lemon and black pepper is an example of how confident the team are in their products. Made without egg, for a slightly doughier texture, the pasta acts as a magnet to the sauce.
Padella’s signature dish though, is pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter shin beef ragu, and it’s easy to see why. The rich and succulent flavour of the slow cooked, fall-apart beef combined with the juicy fresh tomatoes and just the right amount of garlic makes the sauce the real hero here. Squid ink tagliarini with Essex mussels, wild oregano and chilli transforms local ingredients into an irresistibly fresh main. Finish off with an espresso, the only coffee Padella serve, or add a shot of grappa or sambuca for a caffe corretto, in true Italian style.
The verdict: Padella is on a mission to make pasta the new pizza and show London that pasta doesn’t have to be expensive to be delicious. Accessible for all, this is the perfect place to pop in for a great meal at a great price, any night of the week.
Address: 6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ
Words by Nicki Smith April 2016
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