Padella

Restaurants, Italian South Bank
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(26user reviews)
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A chic pasta bar just moments from the Borough Market bustle.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you love pasta, but never order it in restaurants because it’s something ‘you can just make at home’.

But unless you own a pasta machine – correction, unless you own and use a pasta machine, rather than leave it in the back of a cupboard like a small-scale instrument of torture that enjoys intimidating your other kitchen gadgets – then what you’re scoffing in front of ‘Gogglebox’ is a world away from what you’ll find at Padella, a sleek new pasta bar from the duo behind Islington’s Trullo.

Dishes are small enough – and, at around £5-9, cheap enough – to let you to order three between two. Do this. In fact, bring extra friends so you can order a bit of everything. Who cares if you’ll likely be sat in a row? Talking is so overrated. There’s a changing mix of classics and lesser-spotted varieties such as tagliarini (skinny tagliatelle) or pici cacio, a kind of hand-rolled no-egg noodle from Siena. Padella’s version was not just chewy and satisfying (a bit like Japanese udon), but came smothered in a simple yet moreish sauce of parmesan, butter and cracked black pepper. Trullo fans will be pleased to see the signature eight-hour beef shin ragu (served over pappardelle) here, although, in one of the Great Ordering Errors of the Year, I didn’t have it. What happened next was painful: a plate of it was briefly placed in front of me, looking and smelling delicious, only to be cruelly whisked away and delivered to its rightful owner. Like I said, bring more friends.

Not every dish is seasoned perfectly, but I couldn’t fault the sublime flavour of a smoked eel and cream tagliatelle with just a hint of Sicilian lemon. Starters and puds are simple but satisfying: think creamy burrata or beef carpaccio, both drizzled with fruity, peppery olive oil; or sweet crumbly tarts (the chocolate is especially good). But really, Padella is a place to eat pasta.

And then, abruptly, it’s all over. Three courses came without pause, then the cardinal sin was committed: an unasked-for bill arrived. Time from entering to leaving? 75 minutes. For three courses, that’s unpleasantly fast. If staff can just ease up on treating customers like fennel-studded sausages, Padella could be brilliant for dinner. For now, it’ll do nicely for a classy express lunch.

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Padella
Contact:
Address: 6 Southwark St
London
SE1 1TQ
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
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Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:10
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|26
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Renee S
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

If you want something cheap, cheerful and satisfying, Padella is the way to go. It’s simple and perfect for when you need that warm Italian hug from Nonna, thus guaranteed that you’ll leave with a smile on your face.


What I had:

Entrees

  • Padella sourdough bread & Puglian olive oil 
  • Castelvetrano green olives 
  • Burrata with Puglian olive oil
  • Salame “Lovison”

Mains

  • Pici cacio & pepe
  • Spinach Ravioli of Neal’s Yard goats curd with marjoram butter
  • Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu 
  • Tagliarini with Dorset crab, chilli and lemon

Dessert

  • Chocolate tart
  • Pear & almond tart 
  • Salted Caramel Ice cream


When a pasta joint can nail the Cacio & Pepe, it’s definitely worth going back for that alone. This dish and the Pappardelle with the beef shin ragu are the star favourites - the pasta was perfectly al-dente and both were rich without being too heavy. I was a little disappointed with the crab tagliarini and the ravioli as the pasta, I felt, was slightly over done and in contrast to the other two pasta dishes, just didn’t have the same wow factor. The desserts were all on point and not too sweet (the chocolate tart is more like a dark chocolate) and a nice way to end the meal and satisfy that sweet tooth.


Tip: They don’t take bookings and are very busy therefore they won’t seat you until your whole party is present so make sure that you get there early to beat the long queues. Try the Cacio & Pepe and Beef Shin Pappardelle - it’s simply delicious and dangerously moreish. The portions aren’t huge so you can (gleefully) try more than one pasta dish per person. They also have good wine on tap (yay!) and a larger seating area downstairs.


Good For: small groups, relaxed dates, catchups with friends, casual lunch/dinners, something quick

Eloise
tastemaker

For those Italian lovers on the hunt for honest, high quality pasta then Padella is your place. After topping my ‘to go’ list for quite a while I was definitely not disappointed by the dishes of fresh pasta served. Admittedly, actually getting a seat in Padella takes serious commitment. Having arrived at 6pm on a Wednesday we queued for 20 minutes just to be added to the waiting list but an hour later we were texted to say our tables was ready and you can stay for up to an hour and a half. The dishes of the night had to be the beef carpaccio starter and the Pici cacio & pepe but the Tagliarini with Chiarentana olive oil and parmesan wasn't far behind. The great thing about Padella is the price; with the average dish costing around £6-7 you can order a few between you which means no pasta envy! The restaurant also offers a £10 corkage so you’re more than welcome to bring your own wine making for a delicious but cheap evening. 

Dee
Tastemaker

Cacio e Pepe. I remember I was recommended one dish by an Italian friend when I first visited Rome and I was baffled that the best dish he could recommend was pasta with cheese and black pepper. Oh boy I was wrong. It was so simple and delicious that made me realise and appreciate black pepper. So when I first found out about Padella to serve this pasta I was hyped. I know the queues can be ridiculous here and pasta is something you can easily whip up at home but their Cacio e Pepe is probably the best pasta I've had in London so far. I don't know what kind of magic they do with that there. I think the other pastas on their menu are decent as well but Cacio e Pepe is a must!

Mildred C

Why would anyone give this place any less than a five? The queue perhaps, but so worth it. The pici cacio and pepe is of course the star of the show and understandably! Amazing. Honestly. So nice and chewy and the sauce is so cheesy and creamy. In love with this pasta. Second favourite would probably be the pappardelle with beef - very soft beef that goes lovely with these tiny pasta sheets. Both chocolate and pear tarts are also very good. I have nothing but good things to say about this restaurant except please expand. Also prices that won't break the bank?! Again, amazing.

elladacas
tastemaker

After seeing enough food porn on Instagram regarding this restaurant and the lengthy queues I knew I had to finally live this truth!!!

Man oh man was it worth it!!! Let's start with the fact that everything is pretty reasonably priced..very reasonably priced and the flavours were just fantastic ... Without a doubt the Pici cacio is their star dish and I recommend it with every breath in me!!!!!

You won't regret it! I've been over there 3 times now and every time its like the first !!

Sheri M
tastemaker

Given the long wait it may not live up to excellent standards you may expect, but the authentic experience of fresh pasta is a must. Sit at the bar and witness how the fresh ingredients of your pasta dish is prepared. The pasta itself is pretty good. 


Spinach ravioli + the pici cacio & Pepe were excellent though the pasta with tomato sauce and olive oil could use a bit more tomato. Very disappointing homemade salted caramel ice cream, only recommend it if you want a major sugar rush.

Sophia M
tastemaker

I am giving it 5 stars as it delivers exactly what you expect from it - great pasta! I went there a few days after the opening so I was really lucky to get in without waiting in a long queue. Fresh, tasty and well cooked pasta dishes and a nice environment as well. Will go back, even if that means having to queue :-)

Anaelle
Tastemaker

A truly delicious pasta place for pasta-lovers!


I cannot begin to describe how amazing those fresh hand-made pasta are. Walking to work at 8am in the morning, I can see staff through the window, patiently and meticulously making the dough. And that’s why the dishes there are so full of flavour.


However, past the pasta dishes, the rest of the menu lets the place down a little. Side salad was very bland and dessert selection a bit poor. As for the décor – very minimalistic.


All in all, a must-go for pasta-addicts. But maybe a bit disappointing for others.

Karen N
tastemaker

Perhaps I came with too high of an expectation, but the pasta here just didn't wow me. It's good, but not mindblowingly good. 

Pros:  The freshly made eggy pasta, very reasonable price (from £8-12), good portions, friendly staff, right next to the buzzling Borough market. The best dish imo was the ragu - homey and filling. 

Cons: SAUCE! It's just not bold enough (pun intended). The 
cacio e pepe was sour (too much lemon juice) and the garlic crab linguini was just not garlicky enough. 


Will I come back again? Possibly, if the line is not crazy and I need a quick / cheap bite on my next trip to Borough market. 

Andrea S
Tastemaker

After seing PADELLA mentioned innumerably in so many places all around internet it was about time. If you've read something about PADELLA it's its long queue. I went for dinner time, it opens at 5pm for dinner, arrived at 4:50 and there was already a line! Luckily as soon as it opened I got seated. I ordered the sourdough bread with olive oil which was quite pleasurable, you could really taste the homemade in it.

For main I ordered two plates, the tagliatelle with beef shin ragu and the goat cheese ravioli with butter, to have the best of both worlds and compare and contrast. Surprisingly both plates came at the same time! Portions are not big so don't be afraid to order two mains. The beef shin ragu was savory, bold and very tender, but lacked flavour. The goat cheese ravioli were al dente and the goat cheese was succulent, not too strong not to soft in flavour, but the butter sauce lacked body and flavour. The service was really quick and the waiter was polite and kind and of course italian. You can really see and taste it is just made and the pasta is fresh and made daily, which makes it stand out from other places.

At last, dessert, there is always some room for dessert. I ordered the lead and almond tart, which came with some mascarpone cream. It didn't look quite tasty but once I tried it, it had so many delicate flavours and textures, it was simply delicious. The sweetness of the almond in the dough perfectly fits with the subtle acidity of the pieces of pear. Perfect mix of textures and flavours. Overall, I was satisfied and enjoyed it, although there is always room for improvement, It is definitely worth the queue, promise.

Ed. T
Tastemaker

There's plates of pasta, and then there's PADELLA plates of pasta. No other dish has been more IG'd i think this year than the cacio e pepe from Padella, and I finally made an effort to get here.

Firstly, unless you arrive about 15 minutes before opening time, DO NOT EVEN BOTHER. They do not fill the restaurant when it opens so that the kitchen doesn't overload, and as such, despite me being about 10th in line and with plenty of seating available, I didn't get in till about 12.20. I felt sorry for the guys who came even just a few minutes after me, as once the restaurant is full (around 12.40 or so, and even then not 100%), people didn't even leave their table till 1pm or so.

In short, unless you're one of the early guys to get in there first, you're not getting in for a LONG time.

But the food? Yes this is some seriously great and tasty pasta. Freshly made, insanely tasty, and a decent price for the quality you get. But why only 5 stars? Because I think there is better pasta available in London, for about the same price for a whole dish (instead of having to order 2 plates to fill you up).

The cacio e pepe was peppery goodness with cheese and just so good, and the 8 hour ragu was intense, rich and oh so moreish. But actually, I find the pasta itself to be lacking a bit here in flavour and texture.

In short, I would definitely pop in again for the food here to try other dishes especially, but it's not the best pasta you can get in London!

Diego P

Fast. Easy. Fresh. Friendly. Cheap. Nice. Clean. Professional. A great place. APPLAUSE.:)

Jack W

Put simply, it's the most fun I've had at dinner in as long as I can remember. Amazing food. Great service. Reasonable prices.... wish I was there right now.

Angela L

Efficient service BUT the veggie option was actually super oily. Still not bad and they have good salted caramel ice-cream and an outdoor seating area.

Vishaal V
Tastemaker

Really good pasta, and also very well priced. You will likely have to queue but the queue moved quickly - there were 15 people in front of us and we got a table within 20 mins. Though I would not recommend for a large group. 


The decor is fairly plain, and pasta is the only option on the menu. So if you are a pasta-lover then you will love this, otherwise stay away. The dessert options are also quite minimal by the way. 

Alex Plim
moderatorStaff Writer

Lovely food in a stylish setting – this pasta joint is one of the best restaurants to open in London in the past year. It's affordable too.

Aude
tastemaker

I was dying to try Padella pastas!


All those pictures on Instagram and all those comments saying their pastas were the best people ever had! What a big deception after I went to London Bridge especially to try it.

I really like sage butter pasta; this is probably one of my favourite pasta sauces, so naturally I tried their ravioli with sage butter! Nothing special there, I won’t say this is tasteless, it won’t be true, but I was expecting more.

The good thing is the price, in accordance with the quantity of food in your plate, quite small. But at least, this way you can try two different recipes.

I doubt I will go back to Padella since I can have better pasta in some other place in London, even if this is a bit more expensive.

Louise H
Tastemaker

Having won Evening Standard’s ‘Worth the Queue’ award Padella was on my list of places to visit, albeit with a slight hesitancy regarding said queue. However like many restaurants in London swing by on a Sunday and you may not need to queue at all! This was the delightful situation my friend and I found ourselves in. Marble countertops and high stools line the pasta bar, with the option to sit looking in on the chefs as they work their magic. The pasta is exquisite- plates of squiggles of pasta with marjoram and a golden garlic sauce or with a meat sauce slipped down quickly. My only quibble would be the portions, which are perfect for a very light lunch or dinner, but no more. Definitely worth ordering a starter or one of the meat pastas if you are especially hungry, however the tiny prices (most pastas are under £10) do make ordering sides easy to do, and ensures you won’t leave here hungry.

Jolynn K
tastemaker

Padella is one of those places that doesn't have a lot of options in their menu, but does them all perfectly! There always seemed to be a queue but the turnover was pretty quick during lunchtime. We arrived at 12.30 and had 4 of us, were seated in 10 minutes! I ordered the pappadelle with 8-hr beef shin ragu after a quick glance at the menu and it was nothing short of amazing!!! The beef was so tender it melts in my mouth. The pasta was very fresh as well. Having just been to Italy last Spring, I can confirm that this is as good as the ones there. One thing though, like typical pasta courses in Italy, the portion is pretty small- but without the second course options in the menu. Big eaters will probably need 2 (or more!) portions, hence the 4-stars. Other than that everything else is great!

David Clack
moderator

This was frankly bloody delicious, although – as Tania says – a little rushy. We tried literally all the pasta and there wasn't a dud among them. Stand-out was the spicy nduja sausage tagliatelle, although even the most simple dishes managed to transcend their basic components. Desserts are brill, too, and service friendly as you like. For similarly excellent food at a gentler pace, definitely try Trullo in Highbury.

Emily W
tastemaker

I have very little hesitation in recommending this place, it is such a scrummy spot for a light lunch or a casual dinner. The pasta is all housemade on the day. Padella offers eight main dishes, ranging from a simple vegetarian tagliarini to their signature pappardelle. I couldn’t resist the latter, and it’s easy to see why it’s their most popular dish! The hand rolled and effortlessly aldente pappardelle is mixed with the most palatable eight hour Dexter shin beef ragu. The slow cooked, melt-in-your-mouth beef is seasoned to perfection, blended with an intense garlicky tomato sauce and topped with a very generous shaving of parmesan. The forming queue outside as I left was a testament that this little place is gaining esteem and will undoubtedly live up to Trullo’s impeccable repute. With such an abundance of buzzy pizzas places in London, it’s about time we are able to show off an authentic, affordable and delicious pasta bar.

Bonnie W
Tastemaker

After so many rave reviews and Padella's no reservations policy, I knew I’d needed to get there early if I didn’t want to be queuing for a table. I arrived at 5:50 on a rainy Tuesday night and already the restaurant was nearly full - luckily I managed to snap up the last two seats at the bar for my friend and I. There are a number of tables in the basement as well but it was great to sit at the bar and watch all the food being prepared.The menu it concise and all so tempting. Padella does a number of beers and wines on tap as well as a few cocktails. We started with the bean bruschetta, which was slightly disappointing, and a nice fresh salad. The pasta was so pillowy and fresh. Sitting at the bar you can see all of the fresh pasta that has been rolled out that day, ready to be prepared. I had the ricotta ravioli in sage butter - a classic combination that works so well.  For dessert we couldn’t decide on just one to share, and at £4 each there was really no harm in trying a couple. The chocolate tart and almond tart were both delicious - the almond one in particular.

We were pleasantly surprised when our bill came to less than £50. That doesn’t seem to happen much at all in central London, especially for such a quality meal. The service wasn’t overly friendly but it was nice that we weren’t rushed out as soon as we had finished eating.

Steph M
Tastemaker

We headed for this place at the rush hour of roughly 6.30pm and were greeted by a long line of pasta enthusiasts, so decided to go for a stroll along the river and came back an hour later.  This time we were seated immediately and greeted by the nicest italian girl.  I opted for the Tagliatelle with smoked eel, cream and Amalfi lemon which had just the right amount of lemon zest but still slightly salty.  The only reason this place doesn't get 5 stars is that, although very delicious, at 9 pounds the portion was too small.  

Mei M
Tastemaker

A new, interesting way of living the pasta experience. First of all, I am Italian and I belong to a cooks' family, so I've always been used to really good handmade pasta. It's like a religion to me and as you may imagine, I always struggle finding good pasta restaurants abroad.


I was recommended Padella by a friend who works in the area, so after a stroll in Borough Market I decided to stop by. As usual, I wasn't too scared of the queue outside and decided to give it a go. Me and my friend were seated in about twenty minutes; the atmosphere is busy and lively, good for an express lunch but maybe not the best for a date. 


We ordered two courses each (we could see portions were not really big) and this turned out to be a great decision as we could try a little bit of a few different things.The quality of the ingredients was very high, I was pleasantly surprised and not disappointed at all. A classy, different way of enjoying pasta in the city.

Alexandra L
Tastemaker

At one time, pasta in London seemed solely the proviso of places like ‘Spaghetti House’, ‘Zizzi’ and old 2-4-1 faithful himself, ‘Pizza Express’. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of these chains – I myself have been known to slap the hand of anyone daring to venture towards the last garlic butter stained dough-ball – but every now and then you find yourself thinking, ‘hey, wouldn’t it be nice to have a decent bowl of hand-made pasta, crafted with skill and served with love in a place that isn’t rammed full of map-toting, selfie-snapping tourists chowing down noisily on platters of gummy fusilli?’


Thankfully those lovely people behind Trullo, a stalwart of Italian fine dining in Highbury, have heard our muttered pleas of quiet desperation and come to our rescue with Padella, a love letter to hand-rolled & heavily authentic pasta located seconds from London Bridge and Borough Market.


Like so many recent openings in the capital, you can’t book ahead but on a balmy April evening, I was delighted that the queue was more ‘stand-and-have-a-natter-with-friends’ length than ‘lost-the-will-to-eat-and-can’t-even-be-bothered-to-speak-anymore’. Fifteen minutes after arriving, we were sat downstairs in a minimalist, marble clad and very busy dining room; both floors are small with bars as well as tables seating hungry diners and wait staff politely maneuvering around them. Am I the only person genuinely afraid of setting innocent fellow diners on fire as I squeeze past them, only to drop with nervous relief onto my seat then realise I need to visit the ladies?!


One word of caution – don’t go for a hushed dinner for two; we were close enough to the table next to us that, had the mood struck, we could have leant over, plucked a slice of sourdough from their bread-basket and joined in their amiable chatter.


A small menu made me happy because I’ve generally found that to equate to quality ingredients and dishes made with care, attention & expertise, all of which are equally important. Small menus also suggest confidence that the restaurant knows exactly what it’s trying to give you which in turn, leaves you feeling confident in what you’re about to eat.


Portions are not big but they are excellent quality; you can easily enjoy 3 courses shared with friends (or alone if you’re having the sort of day that only carbs can salvage) and you’ll leave full but not waddling.


Sourdough is light & airy; douse it liberally with the accompanying Tuscan olive oil and a sprinkling of rock salt and then spread it with greedy dollops of comfortingly plump burrata...I’ll say no more on this particular matter but you will feel my silent judgement if, upon dining here, you fail to order this.


Despite arm waving, eye-widening, speaking-in-tongues rapturous reviews of the pappardelle with 8 hour Dexter beef shin ragu already making the rounds, I’m not ashamed to say I was seduced by the tagliolini spiked with nduja & parsley which waved coquettishly at me from the menu. Glossy and stained with the fiery colours of a Roman sunset, it was spicy, dotted with emerald flecks and speckled with tiny strands of nutty Parmesan, a gorgeously vibrant pasta bowl full of life and eaten greedily & slurpily as the very best pasta should be. 


Chocolate tart was sleek & velvety, each spoonful dissolving on my tongue in a toe-curling puddle of pleasure with the accompanying dollop of crème fraiche cutting through the mousse-like sweetness and making it everything it should be; rich, decadent & luscious. Two starters, two mains, a dessert & four glasses of Prosecco came to just over £50 which, given the location and the heritage of the place, didn’t make me weep quietly as other nearby restaurants have done before.


From queuing to dining to departing, we were done in just over 90 minutes so at the moment, its well afforded notoriety means it’s probably not the place to linger for hours over jugs of Chianti but you know what? That’s ok. When you find a place whose owners really want you to love the Italy they love, whose prices won’t leave you as anxious as an avocado tree near a hipster hangout and whose portions won’t have you wake the next morning with that feeling of head-hanging gluttony, well, that’s the kind of place worth planning a return visit or six to.