Back in December over cocktails Fran and I were discussing places we wanted to visit in 2016. Sketch turned out to be top of both of our wishlists so we got ridiculously overexcited and decided there and then to go for a January Afternoon Tea.
Fast forward weeks of anticipation (heightened more so by reading some lovely reviews from fellow bloggers!) and I arrived into London after a refreshingly leisurely journey. I met Fran in Mayfair and we headed to 9 Conduit Street.
The exterior is discreet and unassuming, but all that changes as you step through the black curtained doorway. Like entering Narnia through the wardrobe, it’s like being transported to another time, or place.
Opulent grandeur of guilded ceilings and rooms of flocked wallpaper are juxtaposed with abstract modern art and quirky, sometimes very odd touches which somehow all come together to make an interior which I found completely mesmerising.
We checked in our coats and were led through to the Gallery. It’s also known as The Pink Room for reasons that soon become clear.
As soon as I walked in I broke into a big smile. It feels like the room has a big sense of humour, but the art deco styling, gold lamps, stunning ceiling and small elegant touches make it an eclectic mix that somehow meshes beautifully.
The room is full of drawings from the artist David Shrigley which are wonderfully weird and wacky. If it wasn’t so busy in there I would have loved to explore more of the artwork around the room.
…even the crockery entertained us!
We ordered the champagne and watched as it was expertly poured from on high into wide and shallow glasses. I need to learn how to do this. Actually I also need those glasses!
It wasn’t long before the food arrived.
Neither Fran or I like egg sandwiches so these were substituted for extra coronation chicken and cucumber sandwiches at our request. All of the finger sandwiches were beautifully balanced and a nice two bite portion size.
Included were the daintiest paninis I’ve ever seen, individually wrapped in paper and tied with ribbon. The Comté cheese filling was so light and creamy that I ended up ordering an extra helping.
Fresh scones were brought to the table wrapped in a crisp white cloth to keep them warm, along with fig and raspberry jams and clotted cream.
We were feeling quite full at this point but it would have been a travesty to leave all of the pastries. Luckily we always have so much to catch up on in our little get-togethers that we chatted away until we felt ready for round two!
My favourite was the passionfruit tarlet which had a crispy crunchy short pastry and a zingy fresh filling to cleanse the palate.
I wouldn’t normally mention the toilets of an establishment but these are all part of the experience! I pushed through a discreet door and found myself somewhere altogether different.
As I climbed the staircase I could see stained glass ceilings and instead of toilet cubicles: giant egg pods!
We couldn’t resist playing around a little bit, can you blame us in a place as fun as this?
I’ve since heard that they sometimes play barnyard sounds and have geese sat on top of the eggs – I only wish I could have seen that too!
If you want a traditional afternoon tea then maybe this one isn’t for you, but if you want something quirky and fun and don’t mind paying for the experience, I can wholeheartedly recommend Sketch!
Location: 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG (the side street opposite to Hamleys, nr Regent Street)
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus.
Cost: £45 for traditional afternoon tea | £57 to £61 for the Champagne version. However note that:
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