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Padella, London’s most popular pasta – top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue

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Every time we visit Borough Market or London Bridge, a constant fixture just outside the gates of the market is the long line of people snaking around the outside of Padella, London’s most popular pasta place (try saying that several times after a negroni) and named after the Italian word for ‘Pan’.

With a relatively simple yet delicious menu and inexpensive prices (for London), you can easily see Padella’s ‘recipe‘ for success. With a second branch opening up in early 2020 in Shoreditch, East London. Padella is the brainchild of Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, the founders of famous pasta restaurant Trullo in Highbury. They realised there was a gap in the market for authentic and affordable handmade pasta in London- mains at Padella start from as £5.50 per dish, going up to £12.50 at the time of writing.

Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue

We visited Padella most recently in July 2020 as London was adapting to life after the covid19 lockdown. Gone were the lengthy queues outside, replaced by a virtual queue (more on this later). We were fortunate enough to get a prime position in the window, meaning we could see the chef’s at work over our shoulders, whilst also allowing us to see the hustle and hubris of London life outside – London Bridge can be a busy place.

Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue
Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue
Basement dining area

Service at Padella is polite and brisk and you choose from a two sided paper menu, which is updated regularly. We opted for several dishes:

Pici Cacio & Pepe for £5.50 – their most popular dish, a delicious and hearty cheese and pepper sauce, which is so good you could lick the salty sauce off the plate

Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue
Pici cacio & pepe

Fettuccine with Cobble Lane Cured Nduja, Mascarpone and Lemon for £6.50 – a little fiery.

Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue
Fettuccine with Cobble Lane Cured Nduja, Mascarpone and Lemon

Ravioli of Westcombe Ricotta with Butter and Sage for £8.50 – rich, zingy and melt in the mouth amazing.

Padella, London’s most popular pasta - top tips & how to ‘beat’ the queue
Westcombe Ricotta with Butter and Sage

All dishes came within about 10 minutes of ordering and served at the same time with sharing plates.

Like their menu, the Padella interior decor at their Borough Market is clean, crisp and not too cluttered. Most of the seating area is below the stairs plus there are several smaller tables just outside the front of the restaurant.

For our three dishes and a small beer (session lager  – 330ml), we paid £29.25 which also included the 12.5% tip / gratuity – not bad for a sit down meal in a central London location with fresh as food.

Planning a trip to Padella soon? Here are our top tips for making the most of your Padella experience.

Use the WalkUp app at Padella

Before, the queues at Padella were lengthy and often all the way around the market. Now, no queuing is necessary; well, not in person anyway. You are asked to download the WalkUp app (apple and android), where you can join a virtual queue. It’ll tell you roughly how long you have to wait, meaning you can grab a drink at a nearby bar before your table becomes available. We recommend arriving as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

We went for a swift half across the road at the historic The George pub (dating back from 1676), the only pub in the UK managed by the National Trust! Once your place is ready in Padella, you have 10 minutes to make your way there before your table is released.

The George pub
Klook.com

Save some dough for bread

The pasta sauces are so good here it almost seems criminal to waste them. So as to not lick the plate with your tongue (and hopefully avoid a scene), order a £2 side of sourdough bread to make the most of your sauces.

Order more than one plate of pasta per person at Padella

Although these aren’t tapas, the portion sizes aren’t massive (as the inexpensive prices would suggest) so we’d recommend you get 3-4 dishes per two people – it is always nice to mix and match as well.

The most expensive dishes at Padella are not necessarily the best

Prices per main pasta dish varied from £5.50 to £12.50 – of the several we shared, my (Neil) favourite was the least expensive (the Pici Cacio & Pepe). We also noticed the couple next to us also just order two plates of this and then mopped up the leftovers with a side of sourdough bread – smart cookies.

Make a day of it

Pasta la vista – we’d return in a heartbeat to Padella (especially now given how easy queuing is with the WalkUp app). However, if you are heading to the area especially to eat at Padella, why not make a day of it and grab a dessert or additional supplies in Borough Market to take home after. You’re welcome!

View the menu at www.padella.co/

Check out our other London blog posts


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