For a few years now, I’ve wanted to go to master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Momo Mazouz’s Sketch London. As soon as I saw its pink walls, David Shrigley illustrations and that bathroom appearing on my Instagram feed, I knew I had to pay a visit. It just so happened, that as a surprise, my husband had booked afternoon tea for my birthday…
When walking into Sketch London, it was clear that they care about their visitors. We were greeted at the entrance, welcomed by several members of smiling staff and given directions to the Wes Anderson-esque Gallery. Everything about the décor was impressive; walking to the Gallery past various rooms was almost like walking through a fairytale, albeit a quirky one like ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Arriving at the Gallery, we were quickly assigned a hostess, as she took our coats and bags, we were offered a table despite being half an hour early. As we sat down for our afternoon tea, we realised the room was only half full which was a blessing – we didn’t feel rushed, we weren’t crammed in and it proved to be a very peaceful atmosphere.
Sketch London Interior
One of the many reasons I wanted to go to Sketch London was because David Shrigley had transformed the Gallery. With 239 of his new works adorning the restaurant’s walls, I was ecstatic. Each illustration was as funny and satirical as the last. Coupled with India Mahdavi’s soothing pastel pink backdrop and bronze lighting, I couldn’t help but be struck by this room. The wonders continued on the restaurant tables, with Shrigley’s playful ceramics featuring more of his drawings and texts. The late fashion designer Richard Nicoll’s utilitarian uniforms for the staff only sought to emphasise the brightness of the room. It all worked together so well and with a stylish bar that looked like it wouldn’t have been out of place in ‘The Shining’ or ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’.
Ordering and the Main Event
When we’d taken our seats and had a few moments to gawp in awe at the truly unique interior, we were offered a menu by our waiter for the afternoon. He could not have been kinder. Running through both the drinks (cocktails and teas) and each part of the afternoon tea menu, we made our choices. I had the Assam Breakfast as my tea and a non-alcoholic Raspberry Bellini as my birthday tipple. The afternoon tea itself consisted of traditional-ish assortment of finger sandwiches, a sultana or plain scone with strawberry jam, as well as Sketch two-bite sweet treats, including a guariguette strawberry tartlet, a Battenberg cake, an Opera cake, a rhubarb cheesecake, a Malabar marshmallow, a Kalamansi meringue, a salted caramel chocolate fondant and a violet and raspberry choux.
Minutes later, with tummies rumbling and Instagram feeds fit to burst, we watched our food being presented to us – it barely fit the table! At this point, I was blown away. Being sat in one of the most surreal places I’d ever been, as well as having all this gorgeous, refillable food placed in front of me, it was unbelievable. Taking mouthful after mouthful (whilst stopping to take pictures of EVERYTHING), I was in bliss – everything tasted as exceptional as you’d expect from such artistry. My favourite would have to be the pastries, and of them, probably the choux, but everything was mouth-wateringly good. I cannot thank our waiter enough either, he kept filling up our water and tea – as well as trying to entice us with more food but we were already more than full.
Sketch London Bathroom
Now for the pièces de résistance – the bathroom. Sketch London’s bathroom is filled with white egg cubicles, a bit like one of the final scenes from ‘Godzilla’ but cleaner and less scary. If you find yourself a little bemused, like I did, there’s always an attendant on hand in a traditional maid’s outfit ready to advise. When entering one of the eggs, the music inside is like a shuttle taking off at the Kennedy Space Center, a little off-putting but more amusing. The highlight for me, though, was the rainbow ceiling, it just adds to the curiosity and vibrancy of what is the most interesting toilet experience I’ve ever had.
This was the best afternoon tea experience I’ve ever had – there have been a few as a blogger! It was unique, the waiters and hostesses were friendly, the food went beyond all expectations and the atmosphere was relaxed. I never felt uncomfortable, despite it being a fancy place and thoroughly enjoyed giggling at all the little touches the Gallery had to offer. As for the price tag, it’s deserved as the whole afternoon was not just a foodie haven but an unforgettable experience – just don’t eat beforehand!
Things You Should Know
Address: 9 Conduit Street, London W1S 2XG
Nearest Tube: Sketch London is located near to the Oxford Circus tube station.
Cost: Expect to pay between £45pp for sketch Afternoon Tea and £57pp for Champagne Afternoon Tea. Please note a 12.5% service charge is automatically added to your bill.
Dress Code: There is no official dress code for afternoon tea but you definitely want to dress smart-casual dress.
Photo Tip: If you want to get the best possible photos of the Gallery, book your afternoon tea right at the opening when it’s virtually empty. It gets quite full by 1pm.
Timings: Afternoon tea is available every day of the week 12:30pm – 4:30pm.