The area around East India Docks is a bit of a no man’s land, populated by vast tower and office blocks, dual carriageways, and the odd corner shop. But bringing it some much-needed light, colour and flavour is Quilombero (apparently a prison slang term meaning ‘rowdy’), the most recent project from the team behind the late, lamented Rita’s, in Hackney.

The menu blends Italian and Argentinian cuisine (many Italians emigrated there in the 19th century), there’s an outdoor oven grilling meat and fish, and the cute décor is a mix of bright oranges and royal blues. My mate and I kick off lunch with a couple of assured cocktails [£7] – a sweet Amaretto Sour and a smoky Sbagliato. Chef Gabe Pryce left film school to focus on cooking, and the Odeon’s loss is our gain.

The menu is short and snappy, and we start with a hefty plate of charcuterie, including speck and mortadella [£12.50], accompanied by an intense Guinness mayo. We also try one of the starters from the evening menu, pig’s head pibil tacos [£6.50]; oh my God, they’re amazing – juicy, tender, spicy, oily (in a good way) – we love them. There are sandwiches and salads on offer, but we share a phenomenal aubergine parmigiana [£8.50], which tastes as if the tomato sauce has been simmering for days, with moreish rich, chewy aubergine.

Gabe also insists we have another evening dish, bavette steak with bone marrow butter, girolles and salsa verde [£15] – again, it’s a knockout. The steak is cooked rare, with a chargrilled exterior, the girolles are almost as meaty as the steak, and the salsa is perfectly piquant.

A side of grilled hispi cabbage and habanero [£4.50] is all tender leaves and spicy kick, while fresh, crunchy broccoli [£6] is sprinkled with sesame seeds, served with a light, lemony crème fraiche.

Desserts are ace – we loved the baked apple with ricotta and caramel sauce [£5]. The dinner menu promises more delights, like salmon and pastas. Who knows, it might help turn this area into the next Shoreditch…