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Photograph: Andy Parsons

Hype Dish: Padella’s ‘beautifully beige’ pici cacio e pepe

We find out what goes into the London plates that everyone bangs on about

Written by
Bobby Palmer

Borough market restaurant Padella is famous for two things, in no particular order. One: its never-ending queue, which snakes around the street. Two: its gloriously cheesy, effortlessly viral cacio e pepe pasta dish. And yes, the two are inextricably linked.

As the pasta supremos were gearing up to open their new Shoreditch branch, we sat down with chef-owner Tim Siadatan to find out what goes into the capital’s most covetable comfort food.

The pasta

‘It’s hand-rolled at our Borough Market bakery. All the bakers roll it as a collective, every day. We’ve tried making it with machines, but it’s just not as good.’

The sauce

‘The key to any unctuous, sauce is pasta water. If you combined the cooked pici, cheese and butter without it, it would split and be nasty. The water helps the fat melt properly.’

The cheese

‘Traditional cacio e pepe uses only pecorino, but we use a Neal’s Yard Dairy aged parmesan too. They use it for cheese plates and think we’re mad for putting it in a sauce.’

The colour

‘People love this dish because it’s oozy, cheesy and feels good in your mouth. People are bored of perfectly filtered Instagram shots – this is beautifully beige.’

The price

‘We love fresh pasta and no one was really doing it at this price point. Here, you have the cacio e pepe with a bottle of sparkling water for less than the price of your Pret lunch.’

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