Since we left London last August, we've been keeping tabs on all the new food-related openings, which restaurants have rave reviews, which ones have lines round the block, and which have apparently been a disappointment. With just 3 short days in London town on our first trip back, there was a lot of eating which needed to happen: Discovering the new, and returning to our old favorites. After a breakfast of pancakes at Pavilion Café, a walk from Islington down to Borough, and a coffee stop at Monmouth, we joined the surprisingly short queue (based on the horror stories we'd heard previously) outside Padella.
A brief ten minutes later, we were seated at a table outside. The staff, in typical Italian fashion, rather brusquely threw down menus, poured us some water, and left us arguing over whether we should have pappardelle or ravioli.
We started with a crunchy salad of radicchio, watercress, and rocket, which was perfectly dressed with a citrus-y vinaigrette and dotted with fresh mint leaves to help balance out those bitter red leaves. We needed some vegetables to be added to our carb-heavy day, and this was the tastiest, most refreshing way to consume them.
Tagliatelle with nduja, mascarpone, and parsley was spicy, sweet, and creamy, but not too much of any of those things. The pasta was as wonderful as you'd expect it to be when you know that this restaurant comes from the team behind Trullo in Highbury: Not at all claggy and wonderfully al dente.
But I have no doubt in my mind that the real star of the show, and perhaps our whole trip was the ricotta ravioli with sage butter. As all of you loyal readers will know, ravioli really is my desert island dish. When I'm served a plate of these pasta parcels stuffed full of what is (obviously) one of my favorite ingredients – ricotta – and doused in fragrant, lightly perfumed, almost nutty butter, I am quite possibly (momentarily at least) the happiest girl on the planet. When I remember that this plate of gluten and cheese only cost me £7, you're going to struggle to prevent me from talking about it non-stop for the next six months.
Padella, 6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ