87 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP
0208 985 3320
AKA: The one with all the tapas
The deal: Recently sprung up as a little-sister restaurant to Ivy's Mess Hall in Dalston, this Clapton-based venue wants to take you on a trip to Spain, via Italy and Brazil. Dinner is by candlelight – you old romantics – and you'll be reading the daily menu by this low lighting scheme too. The perfect evening here means building up the tapas plates over a few hours, maybe drinking enough wine to start spilling secrets in this intimate room.
The food: Slow and steady is how to win this race. Well, we say race, but it's very much a slow food concept. A good thing – where's so important to rush off to that you can't stay for another small plate? Starters we love are the oh-so-creamy Burrata cheese, studded with piquante pink peppercorns and drizzled with balsamic (£7.5) and the artichokes with chilli flakes (£4.5). It's best to stick to the seafood for mains here as it's what they excel in – mop up the juicy and infused oil from the king prawns with a hunk of sourdough bread or dive into the sweet, creamy and herby stew with mussels and clams, which has a real flavour of Brazilian Moqueca to it.
The signature dish: Go home, Iceland prawn ring. Little Ivy's king prawns are on a whole other level.
The chef: Chris Leone
When to dine: Saturday night – make a night of it.
Damage to the pocket: With mains around £12, £30 a head should see your share of a few small plates and some decent wine.
File under: Date night, celebrate good times