I went to Sketch for afternoon tea a couple of years ago with a girl friend and I remember it being incredible. We had the most amazing cheese and truffle toasted sandwiches that had stuck in my mind ever since and so I had been waiting for an excuse to go back…
When I heard that Sketch had been transformed into a winter wonderland and had a special Christmas afternoon tea I booked a slot for New Year’s Eve immediately. Mr Kelly had heard me rattle on and on about this toastie and so now was his time to try it.
If you haven’t been to Sketch before, it is definitely one to go on your list. It’s a beautiful quirky place right off Regent Street which has a number of bars and restaurants. Perfect for a post-shopping nibble or cocktail. One of the restaurants, The Lecture Room and Library, has two Michelin stars and has been on my list to try for a while. Maybe in 2017 I’ll actually get there! There is also a stunning room called The Glade that serves cocktails and afternoon tea during the week. It’s like stepping into an enchanted forest…
And the loos have to be the best loos in London. It’s a massive room with a beautiful checked tile glass roof where each loo in an individual egg cubicle. There’s even the sounds of clucking birds being played. Amazing!
But today we were in my favourite room at Sketch – The Gallery. This room is quite literally a gallery, stuffed from head to toe with 239 of David Shrigley’s eccentric (and sometimes rather rude!) drawings, the largest group of original drawings he’s ever exhibited.
The rest of the room is pink pink pink. Definitely a girly paradise but gentlemen…don’t be put off. We haven’t got to the food yet.
And there is an awesome bar…
We were seated by one of the many Christmas elves and handed our menus. There was a vast array of teas to choose from but we went for the classic Assam Breakfast tea to accompany our “Night Before Christmas” treats.
Our tea arrived within minutes and we got stuck in…
Even the gorgeous tableware is covered in Shrigley’s drawings and distinctive texts. You can buy a set on your way out if you fall in love with it…
And then for the main event…
The showstoppers for us were the sandwiches. These were not your standard boring egg and cress, cheddar and pickle and ham and mustard sandwiches that all of the London hotels roll out time and time again. Oh no, in-keeping with Sketch’s overall theme, everything had a little twist or an extra something special to make it unforgettable. So the line up was:
- Corn-fed coronation chicken;
- American pumpernickel bread, tomato chutney and turnip;
- Black truffle croque-monsieur;
- Egg and mayonnaise, quail egg and caviar; and
- Scottish smoked salmon and Jacob’s tarragon cream.
And that croque-monsieur was even better than I remembered. It’s the one beautifully wrapped up and tied with a bow. Mr Kelly was not disappointed! Although the quail’s egg sandwich was pretty good too…
In fact…they were so good we just had to order another round of our favourites. That’s the wonderful thing about the Sketch afternoon tea, it is completely bottomless. The amazing Christmas elves were constantly re-filling our teapots and replenishing our plates. We even left with a beautiful bag packed with goodies we couldn’t finish to enjoy the next day.
Then, just as we’d ordered our fresh batch of scones, the lights were dimmed and an amazing gospel choir stepped into the room and filled it with everyone’s favourite Christmas songs.
And then these beauties arrived, nestled in a napkin and still fresh from the oven…
Complete with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry and fig organic jams.
Hands down the BEST scones I’ve ever had in London. Perfectly light and fluffy.
Then it was on to the cakes. First up was the vanilla and pistachio battenberg cake, the walnut tart and the chocolate and caramel gâteau.
Then we moved on to the mandarin and cinnamon cheesecake (which was deliciously light and refreshing) and the malabar marshmallows.
And finally, just when we thought we couldn’t stuff anything else in, the Christmas elves asked us which cakes we would like from the trolley. Well…it would have been rude not to get something so we ordered one of each – a chocolate and blackcurrant mousse cake and a raspberry and mascarpone swiss roll. Delicious!
All in all it was another fantastic experience at Sketch. The staff were incredibly attentive and the atmosphere was buzzing with the anticipation of welcoming in 2017. If Sketch throw a Christmas afternoon tea next year I would thoroughly recommend it to launch yourself into the festive mood. But why wait that long? They serve afternoon tea throughout the year and you can find the details here.