Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Afternoon Tea at Sketch London

Dreamy pink interiors, velvet seats and walls decked with 239 new works by artist David Shirley. We ate two Michelin star sandwiches and cakes while drinking tea out of exclusively designed ceramics. Located in Mayfair, Sketch combines art and food in a incredibly innovative manner. The Gallery is part of a long term programme of artist-conceived restaurants and looks to change every few years.

Completely in love with the concept I have been swooning over it's interiors since 2014 and enviously spotting its guests all over social media. Naturally, I was ecstatic to be able to experience it. Because truly, it was an experience. From the moment we walked in the door our senses were held hostage. Treated by Leanne, not only did she make the trip to London for my birthday, she gave me the most incredible gift.  

As we entered The Gallery I was breathless. Photographs simply don't do it justice. 

While you would be justified in making the trip for the interiors alone, it was enhanced by the incredible food and service. As Afternoon Tea is often seen as a treat, a small nibble if you will. I was concerned we would still be hungry afterwards, but I wish I could have fit more in! The meal ranged from luxurious with caviar and gold leaf, to the normal shrouded in delight such as a hot ham and cheese panini carefully wrapped in parchment paper and tied with a pink bow. 

We were sat by the bar area and it was clear to see that regardless whether you were a table of two or table of ten, there were no 'bad' tables hidden in the corner or in the way of the staff that you could possibly be seated at to ruin your meal. Everything had been considered and executed to utter perfect and while it is definitely more expensive than your average country house afternoon tea but it is absolutely worth it and you get so much more than you pay for.

Throughout our individual tea pots were constantly refilled without needing to request it, our napkins folded when we left our seats and our chairs tucked in upon return. The staff engaging and happy to be there, their uniform was beautiful with the waitresses in chic dresses and converse. The manager looked like something off a catwalk with platform shoes and an extravagant dress. 

Half way through our meal we were served hot scones wrapped in a cloth napkin like a blanket with fig jam, strawberry jam and clotted cream. Throughout you were able to request free extras of any food served and the tea itself is certainly something to shout about. As a non tea drinker I opted for the herbal Blackcurrant and Hibiscus, from previous experiences I have found herbal tea to be little more than fragrant water. In contrast I couldn't believe the depth and delicious flavour of their tea and it will further tarnish my experience with regular herbal tea forever more. 

Pouring our tea was likened to releasing ghosts and as we sipped we were reminded simply to 'Forget about it' by David Shrigley. His ceramics completely added to the joy and delight of eating. Available to purchase you can view the whole collection showcased just outside The Gallery entrance.  

Upon designing Sketch it seems no stone was left unturned. The toilets, usually a drab place were other worldly. Open a door to blinding light and disco floor ceiling, you're greeted with a tucked away bar area and a minimalistic grand staircase leading to disco floor ceilings and alien space pods. Instead of regular cubicles, you enter a space egg of your choice and listen to curated sounds. I was greeted with sounds of Wimbledon tennis and after enquiring with our waiter learned the bathroom had been covered in tennis balls just a week before.

Sadly our time at Sketch was limited to two hours due to booking policy and understandably high demand, however we were pleasantly surprised that time seemed no issue. I settled into a state of complete awe and utter relaxation. There was so much to soak in and enjoy but the experience had been crafted to perfection.   

My expectations seemed feeble compared to what we had encountered. I can only hope that I visit again before The Gallery changes.

2 comments so far

  1. This is one place I have always wanted to go to, when budget allows. I love David Shrigley and although not the biggest fan of pink, this looks so cool. You look darling too, and like you 'fit' right in with Sketch :)

    erin | words and pictures

    1. I LOVE IT! It was so magical and immersive. Definitely something you should do if you like afternoon tea. Thank you so much! A lot of stress went in to finding something that was 'suitable'. I didn't think they would appreciate it if I rocked up my ripped jeans and trainers sadly :'). I'd love to hear your thoughts when you get to go.


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