The scene  It’s trendy without being tryhard, cool while remaining casual.

The Victorian brick arches and clinical white tiling giving it a dash of London-hipster edge in the vein of Pizza East, but that’s offset by enough leather upholstery and gold edges to remind punters they’re in the nice part of town. Service is the friendliest we’ve encountered in this city.

The grub The menu comprises small plate combinations, with diners encouraged to order three dishes per head and share.

All too often this concept translates to ‘less for more’ in London restaurants, but at Apero it really works.

My date and I sample a range of reasonably priced dishes, each of them excellent in their own distinct way.

Expertly toasted gnocchi with rainbow chard and smoked scamorza is a super-naughty, cloggingly indulgent treat, while the cured mackerel with purple potatoes, fennel and pistachio is the polar opposite – light and refreshing, and lent an ingenious smattering of sweetness by surprise hints of candied lemon hiding beneath the odd leaf.

Quail baked with paprika, garlic and parsley is the only so-so hiccup, but the luxurious whipped potatoes served on the side all but banish the disappointment.

The pastry chef here has been poached from Zuma, so we do the decent thing and order an array of desserts, too.

Standouts include the olive oil, pistachio and vanilla cake – a masterclass in sponge – and ice cream set inside a chocolate casing that is melted away with a theatrical pour of espresso.

Behind the bar A seriously involved cocktail list inspired by artists and thinkers at the neighbouring Victoria & Albert Museum.

Try the Inigo J, which blends Earl Grey-infused gin, sherry, blackberries, raspberries and homemade spiced sugar.

Bill please Starter plates from £2; main plates from £4.50-£15.50; desserts from £4.50; cocktails from £7.50; glass/ bottle of wine from £4.50/ £17.

Verdict Will impress friends with your ‘secret London’ knowledge.

10 Harrington Road, SW7 3ER 
Tube | South Kensington 

%TNT Magazine% stars 4