Gary Does: Italian review - Padella

22.04.16 · Food & Drink

I'm a sucker for a soft launch. 50% off will always lure me in, especially where food and drink is concerned. So, when I found out about Padella opening at the front of Borough Market, it was time to pick a dinner companion (Italophile brother), go light on lunch and prepare to go heavy on the small plates menu in the evening.

It’s stylish in a way the Italians make look effortless. Monochrome and marble ooze as much as class as the lovingly prepared sauces that go with the handmade pasta.

Tim and Jordan of Trullo, Highbury know their rural Italian dishes. All their love and focus has been poured into this mini-mecca to rustic Italian cooking at the gates of arguably, the epicentre of London’s food tourism.

We were ushered in discreetly, as people were starting to hover outside the narrow doorway. A couple behind us had tried the night before, failed and failed again for a second night (there are no reservations). We were the last in, and last out.

Past the busy upstairs with its bar stools and smattering of tables, to downstairs, where it was more of the same, but a fraction cosier. It definitely was for us, as we took our seats at the counter and pumped Lorenzo for information on all the dishes, loudly (and more louder) showing our appreciation as the Spritz and Negroni flowed like a river.

We knew it would be more of cocktails o’clock later, so battened down the hatches and got stuck in. The bread and olive oil was a mischievous side. So well-made and light in flavours, a loaf may have been decimated and a litre consumed before we even got to the Bruschetta with baked borlotti beans and salsa rossa (an earthy colour, and nutty on the palate), or the sensuously silky Buratta with Tuscan olive oil.

Having had a quick glance at other reviews, it seems as though all the reviewers had pretty much the same thing. Pasta. Meat. Sauce. I think next time (and there will be a next time) the Tagliariani with purple sprouting broccoli, anchovy and chilli will get a look-in. As it was, we had the meaty Tagliatelle with Italian fennel sausage and the star, Pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu (a whole bottle of claret went in doncha know). The size of the portions aren't stingy, so don’t go getting two of everything. They’re not that ‘small’ at all.

Not ever being shy of a dessert menu, we paired the salted caramel ice cream with the pear and almond tart. The almond was crisp, pastry light and the sharpness of the pear and saltiness of the ice cream was softened by the buttery tart.

And then an espresso. And then a limoncello (on the house). And then a creaky get up and passably graceful get down from our stools.

Like their one sheet menu, Padella is small but perfectly formed. The service is seemingly casual but actually, is highly orchestrated. Pass and pop in, or pop in and then try and recreate the magic at home (good luck) after an ingredient hunting expedition at the market. 


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