Anyone who has spent even the smallest amount of time with me will know that I am a creature of habit. My alarm sounds at 7:30AM each morning…I walk the same familiar route to work…my morning soy latte is fetched from my favourite coffee shop at 9:45AM…my working day follows a rather particular structure…I catch the tube home…Rick Stein provides the sound backdrop to my cooking throughout the evening…you get the idea.
Borderline obsessive compulsiveness aside, my tendency towards ritualised and repetitive behaviour raises no major warning signs as far as I am concerned…although those closest to me might say otherwise: RED FLAGS. Red flags everywhere. However, for me it simply ensures that unwanted surprises are avoided. Have I ever mentioned that I hate surprises? I hate surprises.
The only time that I do find it presents an issue is when it comes to dining out, as nine times out of ten I will revert to choosing my tried and tested restaurants of choice. Again, no unwanted surprises for me, thanks! There are only 3 meals in a day and a dining disaster is the last thing I need on hand. Sadly, it means ticking boxes on my go-to list is a slow and painful process.
Queue: The Influencer! She is fantastic when it comes to pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me into new territory. So when we were choosing somewhere to skip off to for a girly catch up a couple of Wednesdays back, I left the choice up to her. She chose Padella. On my list: check. Wanting to go: check. Nailed it! [Again].
I am not generally one to venture out for pasta, but I do get cravings for it from time to time…and when I want it, I want it. Having heard so much about this new Borough Market gem from the duo that brought London Trullo (also on my list and yet to try), I was only too happy to give it a whirl.
We started, as all Italian affairs should start, with an Aperol spritz (£6) before moving onto a very reasonably priced Merlot served on tap at just £12 for a 500mL carafe.
The Influencer jokes that I have an in-built radar for sniffing out my beloved burrata. Indeed, before we had even been handed the menu, I had spied a creamy sphere of perfection (£5) from across the room and declared it a must-order.
A firm believer that less is more when it comes to burrata, I was pleased to see this arrive simply dressed in a good quality Puglian olive oil and a dusting of freshly cracked black pepper. Satisfyingly oozy, this was some good burrata.
Equally good was The Influencer’s choice of thick-cut Lovison salame (£5.50).
Less exciting was the raddichio, watercress and rocket salad (£3.50), which arrived exactly as advertised. It did work to balance everything out and helped bring a little bit of greenery into the mix.
We opted to share two of the pastas between us and first up was the pappardelle with 8 hour Dexter beef shin ragu (£9.80). Silky ribbons of pasta came lovingly bathed in a deeply rich slow-cooked sauce. Really good.
…But even better was the cacio e pepe (£6.50), with deliciously chewy strands of hand rolled pici pasta! This dish alone made the trip more than worth it and it will definitely get me coming back for more. How can something so simple taste so good!
Padella was definitely worth the momentary exit from my bubble of comfort and I am pleased to report that no dining disasters were had that day. My only qualm lies with the service, which felt decidedly rushed…did we really need to be reminded more than once that we would only have the table for 1.5 hours? In any case, the food, whilst not breaking any new culinary ground, was produce-focused, straightforward and comforting…definitely the kind of platefuls you would want to stuff your face with. And you certainly cannot argue with the price point!
Nice one, Padella. Another tick in the box.
6 Southwark Street,
London, SE1 1TQ