THE SCENE The entire place reeks of sophistication, with a hint of danger, thanks to its 1920s speakeasy vibe. With polished dark-brown timber, dark red walls throughout, warm lighting and Twenties art, including the work of Italian designer Leonetto Cappiello, on the walls, you’re transported from the buzz of London life into a safe haven of superb food and drink. A live jazz band entertains diners, further adding to the sense of refinement. The longer you stay, indulging in the luxurious, slightly illicit atmosphere, the harder it will be to leave.

THE GRUB Exceptional. And the service is impeccable, too. We begin with the foie gras and kirch terrine with toasted brioche and chilli jam, and the fried scallops and chorizo with parsnip puree. Both are extremely pleasing to the palette and create anticipation for the mains. Disappointment does not visit. My date’s fillet steak with roasted garlic is an outstanding cut of meat, delivered just the way she ordered – medium, but soft enough to slice with one stroke of the knife; the chef is a master. I choose the panfried cod with new potatoes and bacon with mussels in a cider cream, which offers a subtle, sweet aftertaste. The phrase ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ is often overused but it’s a genuine fit here. For dessert, the smooth chestnut and spiced rum mousse is a fitting conclusion to a brilliant evening.

BEHIND THE BAR Before or after your meal (or both) hang out downstairs in a private booth – you can draw a curtain – and indulge in some of extremely well-balanced cocktails. My date’s Regalitea – Earl Grey infused Beefeater 24 gin, Madagascan vanilla sugar, peach bitters and champagne – comes highly recommended.

BILL PLEASE Starters from £5; mains from £13.95; cocktails from £7.50.

VERDICT This place oozes quality and class. You’ll discover your own slice of secret London – but one you won’t be able to resist telling people about. 5/5 Jahn Vannisselroy

697a Wandsworth Road, Clapham, SW8 3JF 
Tube: Vauxhall