On my 20th birthday earlier this year, I was lucky enough to spend the morning in Paris, then hop on a quick flight and spend the afternoon and next few days celebrating in London. The first stop on my and Natalie‘s checklist was Sketch, an eating spot in Mayfair whose velvet pink interiors we’ve seen for years on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr have made the location one of the world’s most photographed restaurants. With it’s artwork on the walls, five course meals plated in front of us, and a string quartet providing the backing soundtrack, Sketch became a complete sensory experience like no other. I snapped a couple of pictures to help capture the most memorable dining affair of my life, so I hope you enjoy Afternoon Tea at Sketch, London!
A Bit of Background
Sketch is split up into different parts. The Gallery is, obviously, the pretty pink space where artwork covers the walls. Their current artist in residence is British Turner Prize-nominated illustrator David Shrigley, whose 91 colourful, news headline-esque works offer a side dish of humour. The Parlour and Glade serve breakfast and brunch, and from 5pm onwards, Sketch transforms into a cocktail bar every night. The location was once the Royal Institute of British Architects HQ, before becoming the London atelier of Christian Dior, to now reaching its current phase of Sketch.
On The Menu
Afternoon Tea starts at 3:30pm and bookings are essential. However, if you see they’re booked out online on your desired day, definitely email them to double check as they might have availability – that’s what we did! Afternoon Tea consists of around five courses, including a starter of egg soldiers with Russian Oscietra Caviar, a tower of delicious finger sandwiches, a round of scones with cream and three different types of jams, another tower boasting a spread of different petits gateaux, and finally your choice of two different cakes from the trolley. Wash it down with a bottomless pot of tea, and you’ll be set for dinner too. Check out their entire, more detailed menu here.
Let me set the scene. Between all our cars and travel and Sketch starting Afternoon Tea at 3:30pm sharp, there was a possibility of us cutting it too fine. The flight from Paris to London happened in the blink of an eye (seriously, if I lived in either city I would be flying around every weekend) and our luggage came out on the carrousel almost instantly. Things were going too smoothly.
It was when we were waiting for our hire car to take us from Heathrow to our hotel did we panic. Our driver was running late, and we waited with baited breath as we silently considered the nightmare of missing out on Sketch. Finally our car arrived, and we were whisked away to our accommodation where we dropped our bags at reception and hopped into a cab, ready to take us to Sketch. We arrived literally just on time, and once we checked our coats into their cloak room we were guided through thick black curtains and into a millennial pink dream. We sat down and the weight of an entire day of travelling rolled right off our backs, with the only phrase we could get out was “oh my god we’re actually here right now!”
Sketch’s quirky aesthetic where everything seems normal until you look closer, paired with travelling from one world city to another, made me feel like I had taken a tumble down the rabbit hole – and I never wanted to leave. The decor is on another level and everything I wish my future house to be. From the plushy velvet tulip seats, to the brass table lamps and the rose gold bar, Sketch was like a fantasy land. The service was also incredible and personal. From the smartly dressed waiters dotting on us and topping our tea cups up when they threatened to run dry, to the waitresses pushing a pink cart with today’s selection of cakes from us to choose from, it was all so memorable. To top it all off, the string quartet played songs like God Only Knows by The Beach Boys and Somewhere Only We Know by Keane, adding just another layer of magic.
Whether you’re busting to go after all those cups of tea or not, definitely check out the bathrooms of Sketch, they’re ridiculously unique. Each cubical is a little egg pod that has a faint pink light inside and a running track of crickets playing, making it sound like you’re in a garden. The roof of the bathroom is covered in colourful windows, while a woman dressed as an old fashion maid emerged at one point. You have to see it to believe it!
Overall, Sketch was a dining experience like no other. When I mention it to people, they either know exactly what I’m talking about, or have never heard of it at all. If you’re the latter, I hope I’ve been able to help add a ‘must do’ to your travel list if you’re heading to London soon, and if you’re heard of it before, yes, it’s definitely worth going and experiencing!
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All the love,