On our recent trip back to London to catch up with friends and watch the incredible Ratatat raise the Brixton Electric roof, I decided we should treat ourselves to something I’d wanted to do for years – Afternoon Tea at sketch. We lived in London for six whole years and I never made it to so much as a teeny cocktail there! So, I booked us in for the full shebang and thought about the £££ later. Here’s what I thought about Afternoon Tea at sketch.
We’re so fanceh
Me oh my this place is super plush and posh. When I called to confirm our reservation I asked about the dress code. The receptionist was lovely and said of course there’s no special code, just turn up in whatever you feel comfortable in. But something told me a dinosaur patterned joggers and t-shirt set would be frowned upon, so I wore a floral shift dress and pink cropped jumper instead. My other half went with his classic Johnny Cupcakes tee and baggy jeans combo and, surprisingly, we weren’t frowned at.
The gallery is so pink and velvety and just, fancy. The staff wear matching silvery grey boiler suit dresses and look like they should be on the cover of Vogue. The table settings are quirky and totally fit with the plushness of the furniture. In short – I would happily take tea at sketch every day for the rest of my life (if I’m also allowed to wear one of those grey dresses with my name stitched on the collar).
Would you like more sandwiches?
I’m just going to get straight into telling you all about the food, because this was the whole reason we were there in the first place (what toilets?) We glanced at the menu but were only there for one thing – the Afternoon Tea. I ordered a loose leaf peppermint tea and S went for a fruity blackcurrant tea, which he promptly plopped a load of sugar cubes into.
When the afternoon tea tier arrived, I almost got up from my seat to clap. Every little sarnie and cake was perfectly placed and I couldn’t wait to dig in. Our waitress recommended we start with the mozzarella and pesto ‘toastette’ I think she called it? It was wrapped up in a greaseproof paper parcel and sealed with a yellow ribbon. How much cuter can you get? I mean, look at it!
The smoked salmon sandwiches had a pomegranate and dill garnish, and the egg mayo had a teeny little quails egg with caviar nestled on top. S isn’t a fan of fish, but he tried the caviar and decided that yes fish is indeed an abomination. I probably should have tried him on a bit of cod from the chippy first though…
Next were the cakes. I started with a little passion fruit tartlet, topped with a delicate daisy made from icing, then followed up with a pistachio choux. Both absolutely delicious. The pink mini malabar marshmallows literally melted in our mouths and the teeny citrus meringues were delightfully chewy.
Our scones arrived not long after I’d taken a bite of the chocolate and mint gâteau, so I had to sort of relegate that back to the tier to stuff my face with jam and cream instead. Hey – aren’t scones just the best invention in the world? I swear my stomach has a second space, like a little box room, just big enough for scones. There is always room.
(FYI, the answer to ‘would you like more sandwiches’ is always, infinitely yes.)
A lovely contrast to the pink and plushness of the decor, artist David Shrigley’s tableware designs are so quirky and fresh. Sketch even say it “invites diners to respond with their own thoughts and reactions.”
My teacup told me to ‘forget about it’, which worked a treat when my tummy tried to tell me ‘NO MORE FOOD!’ I took advice from that cup and told my belly to get over it. And the sugar bowl said ‘it’s not ok’ – maybe trying to tell me I had more than enough sugar in those delish desserts?
Those infamous sketch toilets…
Finally to the bit you’ve all been waiting for…probably. Those weird pod toilets! I wanted to go in straight away and see for myself what so many people had posted on Instagram, but I held it together and enjoyed the afternoon tea first.
The rumours are true – it is weird. You walk up the stairs and are already standing in the room with several egg-like pods. You get in one (preferably not one with someone already in it – well done to that person who can’t lock a door properly) and feel a little bit claustrophobic. But it’s alright, because there are rainforest sounds to keep you calm!
Yep – you read that right. I heard birds and rain and flapping and monkey sounds, all while I was peeing inside a shiny white egg.
I couldn’t help it – I had to take a selfie before I headed back into the gallery to finish my chocolate and mint gâteau.
some professional images provided by sketch