Before Padella came along, pasta was something that impoverished students ate or restaurant diners would order as an alternative to a main course (with the greedy eating pasta as part of the traditional four-course Italian meal).
Padella changed all of that. The big idea here is to shrink pasta down to small-plate size and order it as one would any sharing-plates, tapas-style menu. The pici cacio e pepe, squidgy cylinders of pasta slicked with cheese and scattered with pepper, is the house speciality, while other classics include pappardelle with beef-shin ragu and tagliarini with Dorset crab, chilli and lemon.
Vegetarian options are good – gnocchi with nutmeg butter or straci with sweet onion, thyme and Gorgonzola, say – while non-pasta dishes extend to some salady antipasti and a trio of puddings.
To drink, there are four wines available on tap, British beers and some rather alluring aperitivi, from prosecco or homemade lemonade to fruity spins on the Negroni, Americano and Spritz.
The food and drink isn’t the only aspect of Padella that is bang-up-to-date. Like nearly every hot new opening in London, Padella is no bookings, though given how reasonable the prices are – over half the pasta dishes cost under £8 – it’s not surprising how many people are willing to wait for a table here.
Expect to queue not only at peak times but any time. Even before the doors open, a line of would-be diners stretches round the corner well into Borough Market, while waits of two hours are not uncommon if you turn up at a time you may actually wish to eat, such as 7pm.
The solution? Arrive by yourself and you may very well be shown straight to a stool at the counter by the open kitchen. Even better, you won’t have to share any of your food.