Sketch in Mayfair is home to a whole host of different dining rooms and bars – not to mention the oddest toilets you’ll ever see in your life (I’ll talk more about them later) and the two Michelin starred Lecture Room & Library on the second floor.
Afternoon tea has more recently become available in the Gallery and as it’s just completed a rather dashing makeover, we thought we’d pop along to check it out.
‘Dashing’ certainly is the right word; the vast space is a pretty shade of pink and there are witty, framed drawings circulating the room. It’s such a shame then, that the three of us were plonked on a breezy table barely big enough for two, right by the open door to the toilets. My view was of the hundreds of visitors getting selfies with the bogs – it was a ghastly place to sit. And the toilets weren’t even that good – I remember them being fascinating a few years back but now they just feel like worn-down portalaoos that need replacing.
The Sketch Afternoon Tea (£39 per person) wasn’t bad; all the sweet things were certainly very pleasant. A ‘green tea macaroon’ (which tasted only of pistachio) was a perfect macaroon – simply exquisite. The lemon eclair, poppy chantilly choux, exotic cheese cake, opera cake and a Bordaloue pear and nougatine tart (featuring the best pastry EVER) were all proof that the pastry section knew what they were doing.
The scones (you could choose plain or raisin) were less impressive however; mine was cold, which was really disappointing and it was far too stodgy, which was perhaps due to its humungous size. The strawberry and fig jam, as well as the clotted cream were OK.
The sandwiches were the most disappointing part though. The cucumber and ricotta looked pretty and was a pleasant flavour combination, but the bread was far too doughy – it was gooey. The vegetarian Croque Monsieur (which isn’t then a Croque Monsieur) was basically a finger of fried bread with a strangely spongey centre; fair enough I ate four of the things but they were far too greasy. The smoked salmon and the egg & mayo tasted of absolutely nothing.
Towards the end of our visit a manager brought over the bill and reminded us we only had the table for two hours – which wasn’t the most pleasant of ways to end things. I always thought the whole point of an afternoon tea is to lounge around in relaxing surroundings – something which isn’t at all possible at Sketch. A totally joyless experience.