Hi babes – how’s it going?
Firstly I’m soooooo sorrrrrrry that my blog posts are way more sporadic than they used to be. I’ve been crazy busy at work recently and just haven’t had the time or drive to blog which is annoying as I’ve got LOADS of places to tell you about, some dating back as far as summer last year. I know right, my bad!
Anyway, I’m back, I’m here and I’m telling you about a restaurant I recently went to and ticked off my ‘must visit and eat all the food’ list that I shared in this blog post HERE.
And boy was it a goody. It totally lived up to expectation and will now be my go to Italian hot-spot in London. Yeah it’s a gooddun.
So everyone say HEY THERE to Padella.
I went on a Saturday evening around 8.30pm after an unsuccessful attempt to get into the bar at the Shard which was devastating because the sunset that day was amazing and doing that thing where it demands I take a picture of it.
But sadly it wasn’t meant to be because the man on the door at the Shard (aka the dream ruiner) said nah soz guys you’re not coming in, because my man was wearing trainers (obviously! My guy loves himself a sneaker) – and I wouldn’t have really minded but he spent a ridiculous amount of money on some smart ‘date’ shoes last year for a wedding so y’know he probably could have worn them?
Alas instead of putting these shoes on that he bought as a result of naively wandering into a ridiculously posh & expensive city-boy shoe shop in Canary Wharf and then feeling too awkwardly British not to buy them after the sales-assistant lovingly laced them up on his feet; he threw on some converse and kept us on the wrong side of the threshold to Instagram and sunset heaven.
I honestly toyed with the idea of leaving him outside (I really don’t like to miss a good sunset, especially from 30-odd floors up.) but had an attack of conscious and decided that spending time with him was probably more important than a few pictures of the London skyline and a killer sunset. Of course I totally regret this life choice. joke! sort of. (I reaaaaallly like a good sunset).
Anyway, moving on from expensive shoes, sunsets and our access denied situation; we headed straight to Padella to console ourselves with platefuls of the freshest and most delicious pasta in London (IMO). We rolled in sans reservation but despite this I’m pleased to report we were shown to a couple of seats up at the bar within a matter of minutes.
The ‘bar’ I speak of is wrapped around the kitchen so if you’re sat here then lucky old you can see right into the chef’s work space and see exactly what is going down with your food. Perfect for those a little OCD and also perfect for those who can’t stand the sight of their other half.
(not holding a grudge at all about that trainer / sunset situ)
But seriously I love seeing into the kitchen of a restaurant ’cause it’s where a lot of the action happens and it can be quite exciting. It also adds a little summit extra to your dining experience. Plus six years in, my man and I are a little over gazing lovingly into each others eyes – instead we prefer to concentrate on the food – y’see we love eating, we were hungry and were out for food, so that is our focus. (And the fact that we both think like this is probably the reason we’ve been together as long as we have.)
So there we were perched up at the bar, oggling dishes being made right in front of our faces and trying to stop rivers of salvia escaping our mouths. When we finally tore our eyes away from the real life masterchef taking place in the kitchen we got down to ordering some cocktails.
Coz of course along with platefuls of pasta, what better way to take the edge off our earlier rejection at the Shard and nurse our poor hurt egos (DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?) than with some good, strong, alcoholic cocktails – WE DON’T NEED YOUR STINKING 30TH FLOOR VIEW!!!
Naturally being in an Italian restaurant we ordered a couple of Aperol Spritzers. We had these in Sardinia last year (read those blog posts HERE) and totally fell in love with them so were hoping to be transported back with every sip. We were, and at £6 a spritz it was a much cheaper alternative to a return trip…although I will be going back one day!
Now let’s get onto the food shall we?
As I’ve mentioned, Padella is a fresh pasta bar and in fact, if you’re a bit of a nosey neighbour, you can watch them rolling out said pasta in the window of the restaurant every morning (check out their instagram here).
This fresh pasta is then fashioned into a very straightforward and simple menu. There are six options for mains and five different starters. You don’t have any of the classics like Carbonara & Spag Bol but you do have lots of very easy to understand dishes that won’t require lots of googling.
For starters we kept it light and went for bread, oil and buratta – that super creamy and delicious type of mozzarella.
And this ^^^ is a picture of one of chefs preparing OUR actual buratta. See!! You have proper front row seats and can therefore be sure that your dishes are prepared with some serious love and affection and not a side of phlegm in sight. (not that I’m insinuating any restaurant actually does that of course!!! Sneeze muffin?)
(A-star if you got that friends ref there.)
So yeah, buratta and bread. Always a winner in my book, erm, hello! It’s carbs & cheese and it’s easy to share with your dinner date.
(read: I ordered the buratta and Nicky ordered the bread and he had to share his bread with me because lol. I need a ship for this sweet, sweet buratta to sail into my mouth on.)
Time for our mains –
Now choosing these was a toughie and as such I thought it would be a brilliant idea to get three plates of pasta between us but SOMEONE made me feel like this was completely unnecessary and so we chose a main each and left it at that. Now you can imagine the look on my face when three plates of pasta arrived in front of the sat couple next to us. Cue some serious food ordering envy and another round of death stares in the direction of my boyf. (two strikes babe. two.)
But anyway – enough about other peoples food, what about ours?
Well, I ordered the nduja and parsley tagliatelle and it arrived under a cover of parmesan. It seems that Padella have a bit of a thing for the ‘ole parmejaaaaan…which is totes cool with me because I too am a big fan.
…As is my man who’s dinner also came covered in a very healthy layer of cheese. And underneath the more is more sprinkling of parmesan was his parpadelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu.
Just an FYI for you folks it does actually say on the menu to let them know if you’re not cray cray about parmesan so be sure to tell them if you don’t like it as all the dishes come out snowed under it…there’s no ‘say when’ in this establishment!
The portions are a nice size but not huge. I definitely think we could have managed a third between us and will definitely go for this option on my next visit – because why the heck not.
And also, because the main are between £5 and £10 each it feels like they’re cheap enough to warrant ordering more than you need.
I mean, YOLO!
The tagliatelle was delicioso, although I did have to follow each of my mouthfuls with a water chaser as my dish was hot as hell. Now I knew Nduja was a spicy little sausage but previous to Padella I’d actually only had it on a pizza, meaning it was a little less concentrated. Mixed in with pasta is packed a bit of a more consistent hot punch so if you’re not a fan of spice maybe give this dish a swerve.
As for the beef shin ragu well this was blaaady lovely and a must have for any spag bol fans out there. I was a little annoyed that this dish was sat in front of my boyfriend instead of me but when my ever-thoughtful feller (love you boo) offered to swap dishes I had to politely decline because too often I’m a bit of a princess in these situations and I really need to stop behaving like the queen of everything. After six years I think it may be wearing a bit thin.
Next time though I’m going in for the beef shin ragu parpadelle.
Plates thoroughly cleared we toyed with the idea of ordering another plate of pasta to share (#couplegoals); I was really, really, desperate to try the ravioli and the Pici cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper) AND the Tagliarini in a slow cooked tomato sauce, so yeah basically all of the remaining dishes on the menu.
Somehow we resisted the temptation to add to our food baby bellies with more pasta and instead checked out the dessert menu.
We went for the chocolate tart to share even though Nicky isn’t a fan of super chocolate-y stuff (I know, what a weirdo and oh, there’s that princess personality I was talking about). It came with a dollop of really bitter cream on the side, too bitter for me but the tart itself was dreamy.
And that was us done. We paid the bill, which was definitely on the cheap side compared to a lot of other London restaurants and drove home over the bridge to a beautiful summery evening sky – that I consequently tried to take a picture of because OH LOOK AT THE SKY BABE!!!! HOW PRETTY!
So there we go guys, my new favourite Italian restaurant in London. It’s a really cool, casual little spot that serves up some of the best, freshest pasta in town. On top of that it won’t break the bank and they serve Aperol spritzers sweetie.
The guys that run Padella are also responsible for Trullo which is another Italian restaurant in Islington. It’s a slightly more up-market place than Padella with a more extensive and more expensive menu but I’m sure it would be just as good if not better than Padella and it’s taken the empty spot on my ‘restaurant list’ – so maybe see you there!
Thanks for reading!