October 09 2016
A good hearty plate of pasta is the key to my heart.
As much as I love pasta and eat it so often, I would not exactly order it when I eat out in restaurants because I keep thinking I can just make it at home myself instead of paying more money for some not-so-impressive pasta dishes. Don’t get me wrong, there are many amazing Italian restaurants out there that serve authentic and scrumptious pastas. It just takes some solid credibility and recommendations to convince me that it will be absolutely worthwhile to spend my money on it.
Swarming its way through social media and recently making it to the list of top 100 restaurants by London TimeOut magazine, Padella has been rated as one of the best pasta places in London. It is highly recommended by a number of food influencers either. It is also after all opened by the dynamic duo behind another well-established Italian restaurant in London, Trullo. This all points to a promising standard so I decided to give this place a go as well.
We went after work for an early dinner. It was only 5:45pm when we arrived but there was already a massive queue outside the restaurant. We were a bit skeptical on waiting in this long queue but then the queue was moving fairly quick so we decided to stay in line. Despite it being a really long queue which I thought would take a good 40minutes to wait at least, we only waited for about 15-20 minutes. We looked back before walking in and the queue got way longer - glad we're early!
Padella is really busy inside but the staffs were still being incredibly friendly and efficient. It is actually fairly impressive how everything's well organized under this bustling environment. The interior has this chic and urban setting. There are a few wall tables and window sill tables, bar seats surrounding the open kitchen, and a few tables placed outside the restaurant.
We were seated by the bar table that surrounds the open kitchen. We were given the menu and a bottle of still water shortly after we sat down. The menu was straightforward – a couple of standard Antipasti dishes, a section of pasta dishes and then a few desserts. We were quite surprised that the prices are actually very economical - now we understand why everyone flocks to this place.
We ordered three pasta dishes to split between the two of us because we saw from other tables that the portions weren't exactly huge. First to start off is the Pici Cacio & Pepe.
For those who don't understand what that is, cacio & pepe is a very classic Italian dish. It translates as ‘cheese & pepper’ and as the name suggested, it is a very simple pasta dish with just cheese and Percorino Romano cheese. How it works is using the hot pasta water to melt the cheese while the starches in the water help bind the pepper and cheese to the pasta, hence resulting in a creamy ‘sauce’.
It may not visually looks the best but do not judge it by its looks – the dish tasted absolutely stunning. The consistency of the sauce was great and very well-seasoned. The pasta was cooked perfectly to an al dente texture and you can tell it is good quality hand-rolled pasta. Everything about this dish was flawless. I just wished it could be of a bigger portion but it’s only a £6.5 dish so it’s all reasonable.
The second one we had was the Tagliatelle with Wild Mushroom. The aromatic fragrance of the mushrooms filled the air when it was served. The key to this dish is fresh and good quality mushrooms, and they definitely had that. The mushrooms truly shined in this dish and the pasta, again, was cooked to al dente. It was a well-executed and high quality dish but it didn’t leave as much of a mark as the Pici Cacio & Pepe did or this next dish did.
The next one was the Taglierini with Dorset Crab, Chilli and Lemon. The most impressive bit of this dish is the crab. They didn’t merely use the white crab meat in this pasta but actually picked some really good quality crabs that have these delectable crab roe in it and use them as well on the dish. Crab roe is the orange bits from good quality female crabs and they are the essence of crabs. It was rich in flavour and really added a boost of taste to the pasta dish. We loved the lemon sauce in the pasta at it stood out from the dish but never overpower anything and complemented the crab impeccably. I can taste a very subtle hint of chilli but I personally prefer a slightly stronger kick of the spice just to give that extra excitement to my taste buds.
To sum up our meal, we thoroughly enjoyed all three pasta dishes that we ordered, with the Cacio & Pepeand the Crab Pasta being our top picks. Padella truly deserves all those raving recommendations and the quality of food and service that they serve are genuinely impressive. It was absolutely a splendid experience and now I’m joining all these other food bloggers to recommend this place to you all!