London fresh pasta juggernaut Padella will open its second restaurant on 13 February, on Phipp Street, in Shoreditch. Rumoured since July last year and confirmed by the Borough Market pici slingers in September, one of the biggest restaurant openings of 2020 will, as predicted, not seek to change a winning formula of a fresh pasta counter that walked so about 100 other restaurants could run, is permanently thronged, remains pretty affordable, and serves pasta several notches above “but I could do it at home!”
The signature pici cacio e pepe and beef shin ragu will be joined by fritti on antipasti, with everything else familiar to Borough Market diners: no reservations — and no queue; according to a report in the Hackney Citizen, Padella will not be permitted to generate queues outside this premises, something a representative for the restaurant said at a licensing meeting was “a mark of [its] success [in Borough Market].” The bakery will also move over, with a view to serving pastries down the line.
The restaurant scene in this particular area of Shoreditch, which nudges into Old Street, has changed dramatically in the last two years. Since Luca Dusi opened Passione Vino in 2013 and Selin Kiazim opened Oklava in 2015, they’ve been joined by Leroy, St Leonard’s, Gloria, Pachamama East, Nobu, Passo, Red Rooster, Barbourn, Richard Corrigan’s Daffodil Mulligan, and Tātā Eatery’s counter at Tayer and Elementary.
Padella’s brand and renown is so anchored to Borough Market that a new opening presents challenges — something close to identikit would likely be full, but is that creatively fulfilling? Offering a new approach would likely be compelling, but is that too far from the identity that makes the original all that it is? Keeping to what works looks to answer those questions for now, but whatever might happen in the future, expect it to be buzzing from day one.