The thing that first attracted me to Verden, the latest in a slew of new places in which to splash some cash in Clapton, east London, is that it looked like exactly the kind of spot where you would never find kids. With its steel-grey frontage and super-slick interior – stark Scandinavian furniture with huge pendant lamps carved from tree trucks – it is clean, grown up. Given that I have two kids under four, I can barely remember what going out in the evening with lipstick applied looks like – but when I look back, blinking, at my past life I like to imagine it involved bars like this.

So when it is time for a rare-ish adults-only mums night out – an occasion that largely involves bemoaning our loss of youth while frantically checking emails and trying not to talk about our kids, while inhaling bottles of wine until we fall, face-first into our soup – I suggest Verden.

You can spot the steel-grey frontage that has replaced the battered pub on this otherwise not-yet-fully-gentrified corner near Hackney Downs from a mile away. Inside, the bar is sleek and dangerously well-stocked. Started up by two old school-friends, Tom Bell and Ed Wyand, who worked in the restaurant industry and PR, respectively – Wyand was previously a maitre d at Scott’s – the restaurant specialises in cheese and ham.

If you’re looking for a place to kick off your shoes and change your baby’s nappy at the next-door table while older children scale the furniture, this is not it

On the evening in question – after various kids have fallen ill, babysitters cancelled – three of us make it to our allotted date. We start with Aperol spritz, obviously, and choose three meat dishes – an Iberico ham from the Hueva region of Spain, £9, an Italian pork with sweet chilli and fennel seeds, £5, and a salted and smoked beef silverside, £5 – all slightly at random from an enormous selection, along with two equally delicious parmesans. For mains we plump for the cod with cockles and sea-shore vegetables; the summer truffle and porcini risotto; and the definite winner – the deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with mozarrella.

By this point in the evening – several bottles of french Rose down – I get talking to the owners (who are possibly wondering when they might discreetly call us a cab) and was surprised to learn that as both fathers of young kids themselves, they are keen to make Verden an effortless choice for weekend family brunches. So it seemed polite to return soon after with both kids and husband in tow…

It would be a lie to say I wasn’t dubious. Partly because I can’t entirely remember leaving the bar that night – but mainly for fear that my occasionally anti-social offspring would shriek and lob food at one another until we were inevitably forced to slink out on some false pretence, heads held in shame. It’s not that we don’t take them out to eat – probably more often than we should. It’s just that I’m aware other diners will have chosen this as one of a few remaining places in this part of town where there is unlikely to be a gaggle of dribbling children at the next table.

What relief when take a seat at a corner table tucked away on the terrace overlooking the bustling street, which drowns out the infantile wittering. In any case, the eldest was soon too immersed in her meal to make a scene. All kids’ food at Verden is under £4.50, with a choice of ham, egg and potatoes; pasta with tomato sauce; and chicken sandwich.

While she devours her lunch I attempt to savour mine – the Verden club, £9, which involves a massive slab of tender chicken breast, lardo fat, and a very special coleslaw – all weighted down and then clamped between two slices of bread. My husband went for the pork schnitzel, £12, which I never got to taste so assume it was too good to share. Through it all the baby happily lobbed crusts of bread at passersby from his high-chair, but no-one apart from me seemed too alarmed by it.

If you’re looking for a place where you feel free enough to kick off your shoes and change your baby’s nappy at the table while older children scale the furniture, this is not it. But if you’re looking for a seriously civilised brunch spot for relatively well-behaved families to consume properly delicious fare in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere, it most certainly is.

181 Clarence Road, London E5 8EE; 0208 986 4723;

Food 4
Service 4
Value 5
Kid rating 3
Adult rating 4

More in Eat