Despite its reputation for exclusivity, it’s possible to get a table at the River Café with just a couple of hours’ notice if you choose your moment. Best is high summer, when the blue garden tables are spread widely through the courtyard, and the potager is at its peak. The relaxed, cheerful disposition of staff and customers is so contagious, you almost don’t notice the retina-melting price of the food. With most secondi costing £34-£39, you can expect to pay around £75 per person for three courses with wine, even at lunch. On the plus side, the wide-ranging Italian wine list is fabulously democratic with a great by-the-glass selection and prosecco starting at just £6 a coupe. Starters showcase bought-in deli ingredients. but often have something home-made to make them pop – the sweetest, most velvety bresaola, say, with a warm sformata pudding of ricotta and peas, plus a confidently charred garlic bruschetta. Exquisitely intense apricots featured in a buttery almond tart, but didn’t quite stop us envying the many large bowls of own-made gelati that sailed past. Our only disappointment was a bitter-tasting plate of spaghetti bottarga – baby yellow tomatoes detracted from, rather than enhanced, the dish.