Review by: Millie Diamond @millietalbot
In preparation for my trip to Italy this weekend, I dropped into Padella for lunch - no dreaded queue in sight. Pasta is the reason you visit Padella and being placed at Number 1 of ‘100 best value places to eat in town’ in Time Out this week, they certainly know what they’re doing.
Pasta is one of those things that we are guilty of doing terrible, terrible things to. Overcooked to a mushy heap of slop, drowned in ready-made sauce and inhaled in front of the TV as a quick evening meal. This is not pasta and it is not a meal to be savoured.
A proper plate of pasta is a plateful of glory. It is a memorable meal all by itself and this is what Padella does to perfection. Sitting at the marble counter, overlooking a little kitchen full of activity, I know I am in for a treat. I order a glass of Vernaccia, one of my favourite Italian wines; it is light and dry, fresh and zesty. A lovely little accompaniment to my imminent pasta rampage. But first, olives. Big, fat, juicy green Nocellara wonders were put in front of me, the kind that burst like caviar in your mouth releasing their salty goodness. I scoffed the lot before my pasta arrived.
To the pasta! Although I’ve heard great things about the Pici and almost every other review I’ve read mentions it, I opted for a plate of tagliatelle with nduja, mascarpone and parsley. It was a spicy one, with a hint of lemon cutting through the creamy mascarpone sauce. Al dente pasta and a handful of simple fresh ingredients; I pretty much licked the plate clean.
Unfortunately for me, it left me wanting more. At £5-7 a plate it’s easy to justify ordering another one…so I did. This time I went for the Pici cacio & pepe. Pici pasta is traditionally made by hand with just flour and water, and as a result, you get wonderful haphazard sort of spaghetti you’d expect to see from a child who’s been making pasta with Playdoh. For me, this was heaven on a plate. A creamy cheese sauce punctuated by plenty of black pepper coating wiggly strands of ever so slightly chewy and wonderful pasta. What’s not to love?
I still wanted more, but I knew another plate would not go down quite so easily as the first two. So naturally, I opted for dessert. It was everything that salted caramel ice cream should be and again, I demolished the lot.
Although the service was somewhat abrupt, the food left me wanting to come back for more. I think that is a sign of a bloody good plate of pasta.
6 Southwark St, London SE1 1TQ