The tantalising sex appeal of Italian wine and beautiful women is a cliché for good reason. Take the success of The White Lotus, sweeping every award show with its tale of greed and lust. It's known as La Dolce Vita for good reason.

While a trip to Sicily might be a tricky one to swing with work, we can relax in the velvet booths of Sotto Bar, Bocconcino’s Italian speakeasy. Peel off your joggers and squeeze into those trousers that always seemed too brave of a purchase.

Your carnal desires will be put to better use tucking into small plates, anyway.

What’s the vibe?

Sotto Bar exudes exclusivity. The dimly-lit corners and rose-coloured cushions give the room an intimate feel, sure to impress even the most discerning of dates. Much like The White Lotus, you’re sure to catch influencers huddled around a table, designer bag and ring light in tow. (It’s used for photos.)

From the fresh bouquets of roses to the red-clothed menus, the attention to detail is impeccable. And as the night progresses, a resident DJ takes control of the vinyl – so watch that cocktail consumption.

Staff are attentive and thoughtful, never missing a beat. They treat each diner like a special guest, handing out sweet treats and even shots to the table. Nice touch, although I could have done without that Limoncello when I stood up.

It’s the ideal venue to bring your work colleagues but remember to keep the rendezvous to the bar. (Or at least stay sotto in the office if you don’t.)

Sotto Bar, Bocconcino Soho

What to order?

Their seasonal cocktail menu is curated by ‘masters of mixology’ who proclaim that “every sip tells a story.” If you’re the type to spill your guts on a night out, maybe go easy on the sips.

Start with The Garden Serenity Spritz (Grey Goose, Yuzu, Elderflower), its light cucumber foam is the perfect thirst quencher but it goes down like lemonade. To level up, choose the Golden Enigma (Cahaca, Fernet-Branca), filled with Italian lemons and Amaretto that transport you to the beaches of Sorrento. However, the slightly beige slice of banana slapped on an ice cube is less enigmatic and more suspect. Maybe a nice flower petal would better take its place.

Feeling risky? The Avocado Amore (Pisco, Avocado, Italian Lemons) will be sure to knock your socks off. The delectable basil foam conjures a creamy texture that is light, airy and not as weird as it sounds. In this case, avocado does not belong on your morning toast.

Sotto Bar, Bocconcino Soho

If you’re still peckish after this dinner in a glass, you can sample their classic Italian nibbles to line your stomach before the next drink. Head straight for the potato croquettes which are little balls of cheesy heaven, far too easy to eat two at a time. It’s one of those dishes you’ll find yourself guarding from your partner like a hotheaded Yorkshire Terrier.

For something heartier, their deep-fried calamari is cooked to perfection and smothered in lashings of their snappy tartare sauce. Given that it's February, a few of you may be clinging onto your New Year’s resolutions like a thread. In this case, the Zucchini Fritti are your best bet. Yes, they’re deep-fried but there’s a vegetable in there somewhere and they are seasoned to perfection (by seasoning I mean salt but I won’t tell if you don’t).

The Padron peppers seem a bit misplaced on the menu, a last-minute after-thought to please the diners who wish they chose a tapas bar instead. Bitter and a bit flavourless, you’re better off nipping to the Spanish restaurant down the road to settle this craving.

Sotto Bar, Bocconcino Soho

What’s the damage?

Drinks range between £13-15 which is pretty average for Soho but their quality lives up to the price. The nibbles are a little on the pricier side with calamari coming in at £20 and the croquettes £10 despite their size. But with small plates taking over the London dining scene, I fear this may be the norm. If you come on an empty stomach, prepare to leave with an empty pocket (and some very nice food in your belly).

Anything else to add?

Sotto Bar is the pinnacle of speakeasy sophistication, but one that welcomes an unstuffy sort of luxury. Dress impressively but don’t try too hard – laid-back chic is the uniform for this venue.

After all, the temptation of Soho’s best nightclubs will be calling your name when you reluctantly pack up and leave.

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Bocconcino Soho, 59 Great Marlborough St, W1F 7JY; Sotto Bar