Claimed to be a vibrant gastro-brasserie, sketch has long been one of London’s must see spots. Its interior aims to defy the ordinary, allowing its restaurants to not only nourish the body, but tantalise the mind. It has become an institution and is the place I bring my visitors for a real wow factor meal and memorable experience.
I was delighted to hear The Gallery at sketch has recently been redesigned and a little overly excited to be invited to try their new Summer Afternoon Tea. Paris based India Mahdhavi, who is both an architect and designer, has created a backdrop for artist David Shrigley’s work. Shrigley, if you haven’t heard of him, is responsible for the satyrical sketches lining the wall, deriding everyday situations and thoughts.
The room is now a feminine fairy tale of muted pinks and rose golds, with the famously stunning floor created of 96 different types of marble remaining the only recognisable element from its previous design.
We chose our teas and ordered a Summer Afternoon Tea each, more than ready to ‘forget about it’ and disappear into The Gallery. As with everything at sketch, the champagne service is part of the act. A very retro looking champagne trolley was rolled over, filled with bottles of chilled champagne. My date was theatrically poured a glass whilst I snapped away, obviously embarrassing the lovely sommelier. For tea, we went for a green blend of Osamnthus. The flowering green tea is hand tied around an orange osmanthus flower for a subtle hint of citrus and a beautiful presentation.
Our attention, however, was soon drawn to the main event. Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s exciting arrangement of sandwiches, cakes and pastries were delivered on three tiers of David Shrigley designed crockery.
It was served with accompaniments of raspberry meringues, bubble gum marshmallows and warm scones with fresh fig and strawberry jam.
The miniature mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur was texturally pleasing with delicious flavour. Posh comfort food that I would happily indulge in on a daily basis.
A tiny triangle of egg and mayonnaise sandwich with quail egg and caviar was next. This was laced with truffle for a subtle earthiness, continuing the luxurious comfort food I so desire to have fill my fridge at home.
Having polished off the sandwiches and scones, we indulged in a miniature coffee eclair, an almond and berry tartlet, strawberry cheesecake, mousse malabar, bubble gum marshmallows, meringue tart, raspberry meringues, sketch opera cake and old fashioned pistachio macarons. I was now regretting the tight outfit choice and wondered if sketch also harboured a wonderfully mysterious nap pod.
I had no such luck, so we sipped away our sugar high whilst finding more of our favourites scattered around the room.
Our incredibly attentive and rather charming server checked on us throughout tea, asking if we’d like any cheeky extras of any of our favourites. Literally about to burst out of my dress, I temporarily listened to the debate going on between the little voices in my head. One argued the point of being on a beach in California next week, the other reminded me of the creamy, nutty pistachio macaron which was my firm favourite of the tea.
Some more rest was required as those little gems securely put me over the edge.
Finally able to move, we nipped to the loos before leaving. You may find this detail an odd inclusion, but these are something special.
That’s right! Egg pod toilets. As probably one of the most photographed bathrooms ever, these are definitely worth a visit.
Dining at sketch is like something out of a fairytale. The Summer Afternoon Tea is surely something every tourist and Londoner must do this season.
But you’ve been warned, be sure to wear something a little loose!