The first thing I must mention about Apothecary is the staff are awesome, and contribute in huge part to its relaxed vibe, where people aren't rushing in and out the door.

Furthermore, their knowledge of the menu of Tokyo-inspired small plates on offer at the Charlotte Road venue is excellent.

When I turned up on a Saturday night, my friend was running over an hour late - but I was told to relax and to tuck into some nibbles and cocktails.

I was told I would love the Found in Translation cocktail (£9.50) - and I did. The apricot undertones of the Lillet Rose combined perfectly with oolong tea cordial and soda, and it was light, floral and fruity.

Hackney Gazette: The Found in Translation cocktailThe Found in Translation cocktail (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

By the time my friend arrived I'd already gone on to polish off a satisfying Miso soup (£3.60), some lotus root crisps (£3.90), and was part-way through a concentrated gin, green tea, and lime-infused Zen Garden (£11.50).

Hackney Gazette: A miso soupA miso soup (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

Apothecary combines a dining room and cocktail bar with live DJ sets in a beautiful east London setting.

Years ago the building was Shoreditch's go-to bar Cantaloupe, before it was given a makeover and transformed into celebrity chef Angela Hartnett’s joint, the Merchants Tavern.

Then last year Apothecary launched - its name is a nod to the heritage of the building which historically housed a warehouse.... and an apothecary.

Its all-day menu offers Japanese-inspired snacks and small plates, and innovative cocktails use Asian ingredients to give classics a twist.

Sultry lighting and secluded alcoves combine with cosy banquette seating and the theatre of the open kitchen.

You can watch the chefs at work, and each dish they knock out is clearly put together with artistry in mind.

The sharing plates are ordered much like tapas, and there is a huge variety of flavours.

We started out with some impeccable sushi and sashimi.

We loved the yuzu soy, truffle oil, jalapeño and coriander flavours in the Yellowtail Tiradito (£14).

Hackney Gazette: Sushi and sashimiSushi and sashimi (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

Even my friend who isn't a big sushi fan raved about the Salmon Den Miso Sushi Rolls (£16).

A rich creamy black sesame sauce complimented the crunchiness of a grilled cauliflower (£6.50) perfectly.

Other signature dishes include the Pork Belly Skewer (£11) from the robata gril, tataki, tempura, and Hirata steamed bun sliders.

Hackney Gazette: The Bao bunsThe Bao buns (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

Hackney Gazette: Apothecary's small plates are inspired by Japanese cuisineApothecary's small plates are inspired by Japanese cuisine (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

For dessert, the sesame chestnut house-made ice cream (£2.50 per scoop) was rich and intriguing.

Apothecary is one not to miss.