Pasta as I like it: Padella (SE1 + now EC2)

The English middle classes have always had an historic love affair with Italy. Now they can reinvigorate this affair at Padella, which opened today at the entrance to London’s Borough Market.

Pasta is such a simple dish, yet so hard to find cooked properly when not in Italy. It’s also illusive in London restaurants, unless you go to the higher end of the price scale.

[UPDATE February 2020: Padella has opened Padella No 2 in Phipp Street, Shoreditch, along the street from another favourite, Leroy. Go here to avoid the queues of Borough that can start as early as 10am!]

Padella is brought to us by Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, the Italian-loving duo behind the successful Trullo restaurant in North London’s Highbury district.

Jordan was there to greet us on the day. He made me feel very welcome, especially given that I always hate popping the question of whether I can take photos. He was a definite ‘chaps’ guy rather than a ‘guy’ guy. I could just imagine him in Tuscany.

For around £10-15 you can come away from Padella having had a starter – burrata was a firm favourite – and a plate of homemade pasta, made on the premises the same day. Drinks not included, apart from filtered water.

In all there are 6 antipasti, 6 pasta dishes & 2 desserts to choose from. As well as wine & beer on tap, bottled prosecco & spumante, & Italian cocktails, as well as coffee, Italian, of course.

The signature dish brought over from Trullo is the pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu, & my God it was good. I like to eat what I would otherwise not cook at home, & I haven’t the patience to hang around for 8 hours or to make my own pasta.

I have to admit, though, that I did sneak away & have a cardamon-flavoured Turkish coffee at the Turkish Deli in Borough market… another love affair of mine, & also a habit that I picked up from my gastro friends in Spain of having coffee in cafes rather than in restaurants.

So here is what I ate, sitting at the pasta ‘bar’ at Padella, which means ‘frying pan’ in Italian…

What I ate & drank at La Padella

First, I chose radicchio, watercress, rocket, baby gem salad. Then homemade pappardelle – you can see the chefs making the pasta in the morning from the window – with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu …


And I could not resist a dessert with season rhubarb, made into a tart with almonds ….


And a glass of Sangiovese, Vini Stocco, Friuli 2014 …


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