So I have seen a lot of recent reviews about this place. It is obviously the new kid on the block to a certain degree, so all reviewers and bloggers are getting involved. As I am a regular in London bridge, I had passed this place a lot and never had the opportunity to go in as I was put off by the queues. So nearby Lobos always ended up being our spot of choice. Finally we decided that we need to bite the bullet and see what all of the fuss is about. We settled in the queue on a Wednesday after a drink at the lovely Globe Tavern nearby. We queued for one hour and 10 minutes. At no point did anyone come out, work the queue, acknowledge us, write a name on a clip board, walk by with some tasters, nowt. You just stood in that queue having no inclination as to how long this would become your temporary foodie home.
I have worked in the service industry, so I disagree that this should be the norm. You could walk up, take names and party numbers. Even if you had no intention of closely monitoring the activity inside to see how soon a table would become free, its a psychological thing. It gives people the impression that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That simple interaction. I think I, like others, had bought into the current buzz that surrounds this place, so against my better nature, there I was, in a queue.
When we were finally seated inside, we were guided to a basement. Outside you don’t know there is additional space. We were sat at the bar in a cramped corner, but were delighted to start our food journey. The menu is small and simple. In the queue we could hear those who felt like Padella experts discuss the menu and the dishes, what dishes you MUST have, scrolling through various instagram, google and twitter images. We wanted to take a leap of faith and just grab what we fancied.
The service was OK. Not rude, but certainly not warm. We ordered two glasses of prosecco from the bartender and mulled over our dinner options. We were not sure what to have and probably looked puzzled, so this was his opportunity to say, hey, would you like some suggestions. Instead, he leaned over the bar in front of us (looking a tad bit bored), waiting for us to order so he could move on to slicing bread, making drinks and serving up desserts.
We both went for the buratta as this seems to be my “must have”. Maybe I should just start a buratta blog as I am intrigued by this dish and the portion sizes according to where you go (stingy to plentiful – Padella was midway). For main we went for spaghetti with tomato sauce and also fettuccine with chilli (nduja), with a side of sourdough bread. I think our naivety on the menu showed as our choices were not the best. I am not sure we got the full effect of Padella. To be honest, the food was just okay. I think if we had gotten a little help we may have had an improved experience. Whilst Lobos had always blown our mind with their Spanish tapas, this Italian effort landed with a moist thud.
Following little interaction with the team, we paid up our bill and left feeling a little deflated. Our one hour plus wait had produced a 35 minute average dining experience.
6 Southwark Street
London SE1 1TQ