Sit at one of the big round tables right by the window in the pretty tea parlour, so you can spy on London life between nibbles. In Apero, take a curtained basement booth and watch a procession of legs pass the poppy-red pillar box.
It’s pretty relaxed here, but dress up for afternoon tea (dizzyingly delicious cakes) with sherbet colours and a shot of silk. Dandies: sport a bow tie in custard-yellow, mint-green or violet, and flash some bold socks, in honour of the pretty patisserie.
There’s been a bit of a buzz around Apero, the Ampersand’s basement restaurant and bar. Looks-wise, Apero continues London’s love-in with NY: industrial light fittings, polished tiles, exposed brick, dark leather seating and wooden tables. The dining concept is more Mediterranean: a menu that leapfrogs from one small plate to another, rather than a stolid three-course approach. Waiters nudge guests in the direction of around five or six plates between two, but choose wisely, or some rather odd combinations could arrive at your table all at once: smoked cod roe on little toasts, plaice goujons with avocado mayonnaise, and a rich, creamy seafood pasta, for example. Head chef Chris Golding is an affable chap: tell him what you liked if you see him.
At Apero’s glittering bar, friendly barmen mix cocktails swimming with giant hunks of ice (for slower melting) and equally tasty mocktails. The drinks menu is inspired by the nearby V&A and its artists, as well as European philosophers and their Grand Tours. We recommend the Inigo J: gin, raspberries, blackberries and home-made spiced sugar, and the Sainte Victoire: a blend of cognac, apricot brandy, white grapes and prosecco.
The barmen will keep you from thirst until 1am on the weekends; midnight during the week. The restaurant stops plating up at around 10.30pm.
The 24-hour room service includes items from Apero’s menu during the restaurant’s opening hours; after that, there’s a smaller selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks.