I applaud another new restaurant opening up in my area. Although there is great eating to be had in nearby Borough Market, sometimes I just want to have a break from the crowd and sit down for lunch. Food tends to taste better if you aren’t at risk of being sideswiped by time pressed tourists.
Chill. The Shard won’t crumble just yet.
Which is how I ended up in Padella, a small bright restaurant just around the corner from the market. Arriving slightly before opening time, we managed to get a first sitting. Otherwise, we might have joined the hungry and grumpy horde waiting outside for their turn.
Padella sourdough bread & Puglian olive oil. My usual hungry self went for the literal first item on the menu. The sourdough was firm yet moist. With a lovely little bounce, this foreshadowed the properties of the other wheat offerings.
Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu. When this first arrived, what I thought was “that’s it?” It seemed like a rather timid portion. Despite my soft-spoken manner, I’m not a mouse in disguise. I need a decent amount of food, thank you. Although I do remember being told time and time again, quality over quantity, don’t let your eyes be too big for your stomach. This definitely delivered on the quality side. Meaty yet smooth beef on top of some of the best pasta I’ve had in London. I stand amazed. It’s rare that things like this happen but the juxtaposition of the firm yet smooth pasta, wheaty yet earthy taste, simply blew me away.
Pici cacio e pepe. Usually I would turn up my nose at vegetarian pasta. Where’s the meat to give it body? Cheese and pepper. How good could it be… Turns out, pretty awe inspiring. The simple sauce highlighted the quality of the pasta as when you have such a star base, you don’t have to do much but let the ingredients speak for themselves. In Japan, great fanfare would be made of plain rice – pickle and vegetable dishes were to showcase sublime rice. I’ve now found the Italian equivalent.
Almond and cherry tart with sour cream. Nutty and tart notes with a touch of savory cream this was simplicity done with flair.
Chocolate tart with sour cream. Another great hit. Sweet and smooth offset with sour. A great way to end.
Reasonable prices for excellent food. Although the seating is a bit cramped, it’s worth it for a little demonstration of how good pasta really can be. With the long queue pushing back into the distance outside, you would not be remiss in thinking that there might be something worth paying attention to here. You would be right.
A quiet eating 8/10.
Lunch (2 courses) was GBP13 excluding drinks and service.
6 Southwark Street