With just one foot in the door at Sketch, wide-eyed visitors abandon the humdrum of ordinary life. A complex of sorts, the London establishment encompasses five restaurants and bars: the Gallery, the Lecture Room & Library, the Parlour, the Glade and the East Bar. From the Lecture Room’s more relaxed vibe with eccentric art and fixtures to the sleek modernism of the East Bar, each room twinkles with a distinct and whimsical personality. Even the restrooms are something to write home about — futuristic pods serve as individual stalls, while overhead rectangles in pink, aqua, blue, orange, yellow and purple illuminate the otherwise stark white room.
But what earned the bulk of my rather effusive adoration of Sketch was the Gallery, a monochromatic restaurant that could easily pass as the very pink set of a new Wes Anderson film. At first glance, its interior design details suggest an uber-feminine and proper ambiance, but I’d advise visitors to peer a little closer — particularly, at the 239 pieces of art adorning the walls. Created by British artist David Shrigley, each tongue-in-cheek, borderline-inappropriate drawing is another reminder of just how playful Sketch really is.
Although afternoon tea is the popular option when dining at the Gallery, my partner and I decided to book a reservation for dinner instead. After sipping on champagne and rose-petal aperitifs at the neighboring Glade room, which delights with an ethereal woodland theme, we settled in for the Gallery’s modern European fare. Stand-out dishes include cod brandade with sweet baby gem; udon noodles uniquely prepared in bouillon with Paris mushrooms, pearl onions, garlic and tofu; and — much to our surprise — a side order of stacked onion rings, which were recommended to us by our server and left us with lingering cravings for days.
Reservations are recommended and available for groups of six or fewer at the Gallery and Lecture Room & Library only. They can be made up to two months in advance for the Gallery and up to three months in advance for the Lecture Room & Library.