Sketch is at the top of the game when it comes to afternoon tea. To be honest, I have been a bit obsessed with it ever since it was included in Vogue’s guide for best afternoon tea in London for 2018. An iconic pink plush heaven in the middle of Mayfair, with playful illustrations by David Shrigley and a quintessentially British afternoon tea experience? Plus it blooms every May to host the Mayfair Flower Show? Naturally, I couldn’t resist adding it to My Ultimate London Bucket List.
So on one of the most glorious sunny days of this year’s early May Bank Holiday weekend, we finally headed west to 9 Conduit Street to one of the most instagrammable spots in London.
*gasp* Sketch is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Luxury screams from the very beginning: the 18th century building it calls home was the former RIBA headquarters, before later becoming Christian Dior’s London Atelier. Now, the two Michelin Star restaurant welcomes you with a cheeky hopscotch at its entrance, while its signature afternoon tea china (full of playful inscriptions and designed by David Shrigley) shines from down the hall. Before you realise it, you are led by professional staff (dressed in pink or bright attire, of course) to one of its stunning rooms: the Lecture Room & Library, the Parlour, the Glade, the East Bar or the afternoon tea room, the Gallery.
The Sketch Gallery has to be one of the most beautiful dining rooms I have ever seen. It is the ultimate rosé nirvana. The cosmopolitan décor and chic interiors feature pink velvet seats with golden details, while the equally pink candy floss walls turn this luxury hotspot into a Pink Wonderland. The flamingo from Farm Girl Café would totally be at home here!
If this wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with Sketch already, you’ll find yourself giggling at the multitude of humorous sketches by David Shrigley that cover the walls and humming to the live music coming from the violins playing in a corner. During Mayfair Flower Show, this luxury hotspot goes the extra mile and turns into an indoor garden with hundreds of flowers welcoming visitors at the entrance and creating a vibrant jungle in the toilets.
Oh and the toilets at Sketch. With or without flowers, those are simply UNBELIEVABLE. Long white staircases on each side of the East Bar lead to a multitude of extravagant egg shaped cubicles, while bright-coloured tiles cover the ceiling and create a sci-fi style atmosphere.
A sophisticated British Afternoon Tea with a Quirky Twist
Now, let’s talk about the most important bit: the food. Sketch’s afternoon tea menu is of course at the highest standards. With a quirky touch, it offers you the choice to go for either a traditional, alcohol free sparkling/bellini (like us) or champagne afternoon tea (poured OVERHEAD!).
After you’ve made your choice and selected from the variety of teas (you can try as many as you wish and refill), the afternoon tea goes something like this:
- The caviar man, dressed in a pink suit and equally elegant hat, brings the starters: caviar, cheese and sticks (a reinterpretation of the quintessential Egg and Soldiers).
- This is followed by a three-tier stand full of finger sandwiches and desserts:
- Coronation chicken, smoked salmon and Jacob’s cream, foie gras tartallete and our favourite – eggs truffle gougère!
- Caramel and chocolate éclairs, pear tarts, strawberry Battenberg cake.
- Cheesecake and violet marshmallow.
- You finish with scones of your choice (plain or sultana) served with Cornish clotted cream, fig and strawberry organic jams, and a piece of Victoria Sponge cake to complete your quirky afternoon tea.
Now, the best part is you can ask the staff to refill the stand as many times as you want. I would absolutely recommend you do because everything is just TOO GOOD not to try again. Plus, you can take home anything you haven’t eaten. Did I ask for a bag for my leftover food? Hell yes! I can’t say I have tasted anything like it before, so obviously, I had to have more. Simply delicious.
Verdict of Sketch
I honestly have no objections, we had the most delightful of times at Sketch. From the very beginning, we were welcomed by extremely professional staff who were not only friendly and helpful, but make you feel at home and spoilt at all times. This, mixed with the creative and inviting décor and the exquisite meals, builds an absolutely delightful atmosphere. I am beyond happy I crossed it off my London Bucket List and I cannot recommend it enough. Seriously! If you are fan of food (erm, who isn’t anyway, right?), are looking for a fancy and unforgettable experience or want to just share a special moment with someone, add Sketch to your list. But make sure you book in advance!
Have you been to Sketch before? If so, what was your favourite part of the experience? Or where was the best afternoon tea you’ve experienced? Let us know in the comments below.
Sketch | 9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG, UK | Telephone: 020 7659 4500
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