Anyone who’s written about London, ever, has written something about Borough Market. Hell, we even have a guide that you can use to make good decisions. While there are certainly excellent eats to be had in and around Borough Market, it’s also packed full of tourists and can kind of be the worst.
Luckily, the carbohydrate gods (the only ones we pray to) have made things around the market a bit better with a pasta bar called Padella.
If we’re bothering to get a bit religious here, we could say that Padella nails the rare holy trinity: it’s trendy, affordable, and delicious. The menu is made up of several tasty pastas like handmade pappardelle with slow-cooked beef ragu, or crab taglioni with chilli and lemon, as well as appetizers like creamy burrata and a simple but delicious pear and almond tart. It’s all ridiculously tasty and very casual to boot, and between you and a couple of mates, it’s affordable enough that you can order everything on the menu and still have enough dosh to neck a couple of pints at the pub afterwards.
Dining at Padella is best at the bar, which is ideal for people-watching. But you can also sit in the basement where there’s more space and more tables. Just know that the restaurant’s more popular than free money, so don’t bring a group, and expect a fair wait. It’s absolutely worth it though - the anticipation will just make your dinner taste better, and the meal you’ll end up having might even make you like the market more.
You can tell a lot about a place by the bread they bring out at the start of a meal, and the bread here’s pretty good. The dishes come thick and fast mind, so don’t use too much of your valuable appetite on it.
Before we ate here for the first time, we went to a highly rated Italian burrata bar the night before. Padella’s straight up blows it out of the water - the product here is straight up superior, and it shows in this beautiful, ridiculously light piece of cheese. Drench it in olive oil and some sea salt for a brilliant starter.
You really can’t mess this up. The meat comes perfectly sliced - a little thicker than usual, but it’s so tender it won’t matter - and doused with tasty olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
These amazing little parcels are both subtle and delicious. The pretty ravioli make a nice contrast to the heartier dishes on the menu, but have plenty of their own flavour.
This is the dish everyone talks about. Pici, the chubby ‘before’ photo to spaghetti’s ‘after’, hails from Tuscany and is handmade before being slathered in a funky sauce of creamy pecorino and freshly ground pepper. It isn’t bad, but it is pretty overhyped. Get something else if you’re not way into intense cheese flavours.
This is what you want to eat when you’ve had a bad day and want to shovel warm, comforting noodles in your face. Order one for yourself, and don’t even think about sharing it.
This is exactly as good as you want it to be.
If you have a little extra time, order one of these. It’s light and satisfying, and won’t leave you in a food coma afterwards.