Forget all you know about afternoon tea. Dining at Sketch London’s gallery space thoroughly shakes things up. Located just off of Bond Street inside a beautiful 18th century Georgian townhouse, the powder pink velvet scalloped booths, spectacular copper bar, alien pod toilets and curious food envelops you in a scene akin to Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, cocooned from the London hubbub.
Upon being attended to and seated by the conscientious waiting staff, we were filled with a deep sense of childlike fascination at the sensory overload and meticulous attention to detail that helps to create such a unique atmosphere. Designed by the architect and designer India Mahdavi in collaboration with British artist David Shrigley, the walls are adorned with 230 of Shrigley’s playful yet challenging illustrations, whilst the warped place settings and cutlery called ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Dreams’ quietly suggest you “forget about it”. The Gallery is equal parts art installation and restaurant, a love letter to bad taste and a rejection of austerity aesthetics and all things safe.
The food and drink are equally as kooky as the interiors. Our initial fascination with our surroundings was swiftly diverted upon the arrival of the entrée. Along with a selection of teas, the standard afternoon tea (our choice) consists of delicate parcels of visual delights such as egg and mayonnaise quail egg and caviar finger sandwiches, as well as caramelised scented cardamom pears. However, whilst the food is aesthetically quirky, there is no doubt that it plays a supporting role to the rest of the experience. It is substantial and filling and whilst the oddity transfers itself into some unusual flavours, we found that it was not always a successful mix.
Despite this, the painstaking detail that has gone into creating this pink bubble creates a beautifully peculiar attraction with refreshing personality and imagination, unlike any other restaurant in the country let alone London. An afternoon tea appointment at the Gallery is not cheap, but we were thoroughly mesmerised by every second spent and recommend that everyone experience this offbeat adventure at least once.