Updated: Feb 2019
When my friend asked to meet up in London for a meal before he jets off to Malaysia, one restaurant with a queue as long as Israelites marching out of Egypt to the promise land came to mind. The promise land in this case being Padella , a restaurant that turned out to be one of the best Italian restaurants have had the pleasure of dining at around London bridge’s borough market area. Every time I saw chefs rolling fresh pasta by hand at their window overlooking Borough high street during my lunch break , I look to the left and the queue just dampened my foodie soul. Luckily Guiseppes and Brindisa were always around the corner to provide much needed sustainance. The spaghetti and lobster at Guiseppes is worthy of being a last meal by the way. So, back to Padella, as it so turns out, I had the Monday off work and was prepared to queue for their 5pm opening…as you do on your day off. While queuing I read about the owners ( Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda ) and their other restaurant in Islington called Trullo. The positive reviews I read made me look forward even more to what Padella had to offer.
Waiting over, Hansel and I were greeted by a scowling doorman and a lady who invited us in and sat us down at their counter. Hansel had a back pack and when he kindly asked where he could place it, they told him to place it by the door with a worried look on their faces. Geez, it costs nothing to smile and be welcoming. Our waiter told us we had 90 minutes ( fair enough) and promptly asked after 60 seconds if we knew what we wanted, to which we smiled back and said of-course not. We were offered a bottle of still/sparkling water on the house and after a few minutes decided on 3 mains , a starter and 2 desserts. We went for 3 mains because the menu was quite affordable and I was pretty much hungry. Alas, they didnt ask if we wanted drinks, so we had to call the waiter over yet again for 2 glasses of Pinot.
|Pasta bar kitchen area|
The simplicity and flavours of the dishes in this restaurant reminded me of my time in Florence last year. This is what makes Padella one of the best Italian restaurant in the Borough Market area. Check out a few of the pictures below:
A wiltshire burrata surrounded by a pool of olive oil with sprinkles of salt was as good as any burrata have ever had. Cutting into it revealed a very creamy centre. This was ridiculously moorish and at £5.5 a bargain.
|Wiltshire Burrata with perfectly creamy centre in a pool of quality olive oil|
Tagliarini with cornish mussels, chilli, garlic and wild oregano £10.50
The texture of the tagliarini was perfect and the flavours reminded me of the sea with just small hints of oregano and garlic. I didnt taste the chillies, however that might just be due to the fact that my taste buds were nuked with scotchs bonnets in Lagos, Nigeria a few days prior.
|Flavours of the sea : Tagliarini with Cornish mussels|
|Tagliarini with Cornish mussels, garlic , chilli and wild oregano|
I think Hansel liked this dish as well judging by the empty plates
|Empty plate hansel|
Fettuccine with chicken liver, sage and marsala £7
This was possibly the best dish of the evening and exemplies why this is the best italian restaurant in London bridge. This dish was extremely..and I mean extremely delicious. The spicing was bang and each mouthful delivered tons of flavour. To borrow a line from a play ” Can I have some more….MORE”.
|Can I have some more ?: fettuccine with chicken livers|
|Fettuccine with chicken liver, sage and Marsala|
Pappardelle with 8 hour Dexter beef shin ragu £9
The Al dente pasta swimming in tomato sauce with tons of very rich shredded beef shin and generous shavings of cheese was very flavourful. The slow cooked beef was tender and fell apart in ones mouth with every bite. Hansel thought it was a simple dish and I agreed. However in its simplicity was a beef shin ragu that was as flavourful as they come. The rich and meaty beef shin was the star of this show
|Meaty and rich tomato flavours :Pappardelle with eight hour Dexter shin Ragu|
There were two puddings on offer, so we ordered both. A chocolate tart and a pear and almond tart. The pear and almond was pretty basic, while the chocolate was tasty with a nice crust. The desserts were about £4 each.
|Pear and almond tart|
There goes our time at Padella. This place definitely deserves being called the best Italian restaurant in London bridge as it serves some of the best Italian pasta dishes have had in ages. It reminds me a little bit of Artusi in Peckham rye. The only slight let down was the customer service. You felt like you were being rushed, especially when you caught the eye of the unsmiley faces at door. All this in mind however,I would recommend the place as I feel their dishes tasted that good. A quick search of the Michelin site shows that the restaurant was awarded a Bib Gourmand for simple yet skillful cooking for under £28. That’s totally well deserved.
Have you been to Padella yet? Let me know what you think?.
Food , ambience and customer service : 4/5 stars