As one of the most intriguing and talked about restaurants in London, sketch has undoubtedly made a name for itself since it opened its doors in 2002. Located in the heart of Mayfair, this two floor 18th century building on Conduit Street was created by French master Chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz to serve as a place where food, music and art are celebrated and experienced in tandem. I had seen endless photos of “the pink room” known as The Gallery all over Instagram and Pinterest when researching for my trip to London, and I knew that I wanted this restaurant to be on the itinerary. As expected, it did not disappoint!
Comprised of multiple artist commissioned spaces, each and every room in this building is an experience from start to finish. We booked David Shrigley’s The Gallery (aka the pink room) for dinner our first night in London. The first thing I will say is that you need to book early if you’re hoping to get a table in any of the rooms here, as they fill up fast and space is limited. They give you two hours at your table before they expect you to make room for the next guests, which is plenty of time don’t worry! We reserved our table 30 days in advance to lock in a table ahead of time. Our dinner reservation was for 6:30pm when the doors first opened, so if you’re hoping to get some photos of the room while it is empty this would be the time to go! It is also worth noting that the Lecture room is only open on specific days, so be sure to check the website for availability.
I first have to say that this room is not just fun and extremely sophisticated, but an experience from start to finish. With stunningly high ceilings, a beautiful gold plated bar, plush velvet tulip seats and the most amazing chevron marble floor, it’s easy to see why this room is held in such high regard. The perimeter of the room is adorned with over 300+ David Shrigley sketches, a mix of dark humor and puns that are well worth taking the time to look over. The fun extends to the food as well, from the quirky pop-out menu to the labeled dinner wear that is even available for purchase on your way out.
Our waiter told us he was seating us at the most popular table in the joint, which was situated in the first bank of tables to the left of the door. At first we weren’t sure what he meant; it looked like a standard table to us both, but when I sat down my friend started laughing at the art behind my head. Can you spot the reason why everyone wants to sit here? (Hint, hint, it’s beside my head!).
The menu offers amazing starters on their A La Carte menu, all of which are French inspired. We began our meal with the cheese plate, which offered both British and French cheeses that certainly did not disappoint. Our favorite was the one served melted in the bowl labeled “food,” (don’t ask me the name, I’ve sadly forgotten it) which our waiter told us could be found in the Swiss Alps served over a bed of potatoes if we were to ever go skiing there sometime, count me in!
For the main course I went with the Turbot Saint-Germain fish, and let me tell you it was excellent. Light and fluffy, it was perfectly balanced with the potatoes and creamy baby spinach. I ordered a side of steamed vegetables that were deliciously cooked as well, along with a glass of white wine. I had worried that a place like this might be hyped up more so for its decor than the food, but that definitely was not the case here. We were both so pleased with our meals that we had to fight to make room for dessert, where we ordered a plate of four macaroons to share. Our plate had mint and dark chocolate, salted caramel, earl grey, and lemon flavors, and the lemon took the cake. I wish I could order a whole sleeve of those; it was light and refreshing with just enough flavor without being overdone. Definitely my recommendation!
After dinner, be sure to poke around and make time to see the other spaces that sketch has to offer. The bathroom, for example, is a sight to see; colorful and otherworldly, each of the individual stalls are shaped like eggs or space pods, while the sink is free standing out in the open along the wall. Upstairs is the Lecture Room and Library, which is closed on Sunday’s and Mondays and offers two different tasting menu’s to choose from. The Parlor was quirky and colorful, even in the dark. I had wanted to see this room because of the fabric that adorned the chairs and drapes, a beautiful velvet by Pierre Frey called “Utopia.” Across the hall is The Glade, which is the most dark and moody of the spaces. I took all my photos in low light that makes it a bit difficult to see, but the photos on the website are awesome if you’d like to check them out here.
My consensus? This place lives up to the hype. Even if for the atmosphere alone, sketch is one place worth visiting while in London, and I’d be curious to try their famous afternoon tea here as well. The service was fast and friendly, and while it is a bit pricey it was nothing outrageous for the quality; I was somewhat expecting it to be more expensive if I am honest. This place certainly gets my stamp of approval and recommendation!