Swarming its way through social media and making it to the list of top 100 restaurants by London TimeOut magazine, Padella has been rated as one of the best pasta places in London. A good hearty plate of pasta is the key to my heart. With all its hype and credibility, I decided to give it a try to see what it’s all about!
We went after work for an early dinner. It was only 5:45 pm when we arrived but there was already a massive queue outside the restaurant. We were a bit sceptical on waiting in this long queue but then the queue was moving fairly quickly so we decided to stay in line. Despite it being a really long queue which I thought would take a good 40 minutes to wait at least, we only waited for about 15-20 minutes. We looked back before walking in and the queue got way longer – glad we’re early!
Padella is really busy inside but the staff were still being incredibly friendly and efficient. It is actually fairly impressive how everything’s well organized under this bustling environment. The interior has this chic and urban setting. There are a few wall tables and window sill tables, bar seats surrounding the open kitchen, and a few tables placed outside the restaurant.
We were seated by the bar table that surrounds the open kitchen. The menu was straightforward – a couple of standard Antipasti dishes, a section of pasta dishes and then a few desserts. Prices are actually very economical as well – now we understand why everyone flocks to this place. That being said, portion sizes aren’t humongous – between the two of us, we ordered three pasta dishes and it was just right.
The Food at Padella
Pici Cacio & Pepe (£6.5)
First to start off is the Pici Cacio & Pepe. For those who don’t understand what cacio & pepe is, it is a very classic Italian dish. It translates as ‘cheese & pepper’ and as the name suggested, it is a very simple pasta dish with just cheese and Pecorino Romano cheese. How it works is using the hot pasta water to melt the cheese while the starches in the water help bind the pepper and cheese to the pasta, hence resulting in a creamy ‘sauce’.
It may not visually look the best but do not judge it by its looks – the dish tasted absolutely stunning. The consistency of the sauce was great and very well-seasoned. The pasta was cooked perfectly to an al dente texture and you can tell it is good quality hand-rolled pasta. Everything about this dish was flawless. I just wished it could be of a bigger portion but it’s only a £6.5 dish so it’s reasonable.
Tagliatelle with Wild Mushroom (£8)
The second one we had was the Tagliatelle with Wild Mushroom. The aromatic fragrance of the mushrooms filled the air when it was served. The key to this dish is fresh and good quality mushrooms, and they definitely had that. The mushrooms truly shined in this dish and the pasta, again, was cooked to al dente. It was a well-executed and high-quality dish but it wasn’t as remarkable as the Pici Cacio & Pepe or the next dish.
Taglierini with Dorset Crab, Chilli and Lemon (£10.5)
Last but not least, the final pasta dish we had was the Taglierini with Dorset Crab, Chilli and Lemon. The most impressive bit of this dish is the crab. They didn’t merely use the white crab meat in this pasta but actually picked some really good quality crabs that have these delectable crab roe in them and use them as well on the dish. Crab roe is the orange bits from good quality female crabs and they are the essence of crabs. It was rich in flavour and really added a boost of taste to the pasta dish.
We loved the lemon sauce in the pasta. It stood out from the dish but never overpower anything and complimented the crab impeccably. I can taste a very subtle hint of chilli but I personally prefer a slightly stronger kick of the spice just to give that extra excitement to the palate.
To sum up, we thoroughly enjoyed all three pasta dishes from Padella, with the Cacio & Pepe and the Crab Pasta being our top picks. Not only was the food great, but the service and the overall running efficiency of the restaurant have also been impressive given how busy it is. That being said, I think Padella truly deserves all those raving recommendations. Don’t get put off by the queue and give it a try!
Padella does not serve any halal meat. Vegetarian & seafood options are available.
Nearest station: London Bridge