Monday, 16 May 2016

Padella, London Bridge - lunch with Fergus Henderson (well almost)

Pappardelle  with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu &
Tagliatelle with new season asparagus
Becks and I have both recently read reviews of a new Italian restaurant in London Bridge called Padella. Described as good value and, more importantly, tasty, we both put it into the memory banks. When we found ourselves in London Bridge on Saturday lunchtime it was the obvious place to visit.

From outside Padella looks like a pretty small spot. There is a counter wrapped round the kitchen and another bench facing out towards the street. (I discovered later they have more seating downstairs.) Luckily they could fit us in with two seats at the kitchen counter, directly in front of the head chef and a man grating vast quantities of parmesan. He grated so much that I suspect there might soon be a shortage in Parma, so get yourselves to the supermarket quickly if you need any more.
Pici cacio e pepe
Sitting at the counter was a great way to experience the restaurant. Beside parmesan grating man, there were four other guys working the kitchen. The first chef blanched the fresh pasta before passing it onto the second chef - with pleasing splashes all over his whites - who finished off the pasta with the sauce. Finally we had the head chef checking all of the dishes and the quietly efficient pot wash keeping everything in order. They looked every bit a well oiled machine.

One theme from the reviews was that the dishes were quite small so we decided to order three pastas. Just after we'd ordered Fergus Henderson walked in and sat down just behind us. I thought this was some top celebrity spotting, but most people I've spoken to since haven't known who Fergus is. Nose to tail eating anyone?

If you are only going to serve one thing it better be good and Padella pretty much nails it with their pasta. The signature pici cacio e pepe (pici pasta with pecorina, salt and pepper) had a slight bounce still left in the pasta. A couple of mouthfuls had possibly a bit too much pepper for me, but that's kinda the point for this dish. The pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu was also a highlight. I wish they sold the ragu in jars to take away.
Almond tart
About midway through our main courses Fergus' starters were served (not that I was looking you understand). When their table was cleared, the plate of salami was only half eaten. The look on the head chef's face when the plate was shown to him was a picture. The man was mortified.

There was a tiny bit of room left after our mains so we ordered an almond tart. The coarsely ground almonds made it another winner.

Padella
6 Southwark Street

London Bridge
SE1 1TQ
Padella Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1 comment:

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