sketch: Lecture Room & Library

Modern European·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of sketch: Lecture Room & Library

Gold Award

“A cavern of opulence and decadence” is how one reader describes this three-Michelin-starred homage to glorious gastronomic excess at the top of sketch’s Conduit Street pleasure dome – a surrealistic wonderland full of dazzling delights.

The Lecture Room itself is a mind-blowing ballroom-like showstopper complete with stucco ceilings and jewel-coloured armchairs – a perfect backdrop for super-chef Pierre Gagnaire’s outlandish multi-layered culinary conceits.

Diners “should be prepared for an experience” as wave after wave of highly stylised, whimsical dishes arrive as miniature banquets guaranteed to send your taste buds into overdrive: ‘flotsam’, for example, is a cornucopia involving black olive jelly, borlotti velouté, glazed bluefin tuna, salted mackerel, razor clams and green bean salad, while ‘péir’ brings together a ballotine of French rabbit perfumed with marjoram, a gateau of Swiss chard and ricotta, octopus and cuttlefish carpaccio, chilled bouillon and more besides.

Mains from ‘the sea’ (well, Cornwall) and ‘the land’ offer further sensory stimulation, from complex arrangements red mullet, sole and wild turbot to pan-roasted veal sweetbread with angelica alongside crispy red quinoa, mild onion fondue, potato ‘bilou’ and green apple sorbet, while Gagnaire’s ‘grand dessert’ yields a six-plate sugar-rush of wildly creative patisserie presented in two services; alternatively, dive into the Lecture Room’s vacherin encased in a pink meringue shell with semi-confit melon and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise jelly.  

Thoughtfully matched wines provide the ideal accompaniment to such extraordinarily complex food, while passionately keen and knowledgeable staff in dapper outfits are ready to provide guidance along the way.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Modern European
Cosy, Fun, Lively, Quirky, Unique
Other Awards
Three Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Celebrations, Dates, Special occasions


Does sketch: Lecture Room & Library have a Michelin star?

sketch: Lecture Room & Library has three Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

sketch: Gallery

sketch: Gallery

sketch: Glade

sketch: Glade

sketch: The Parlour

sketch: The Parlour


9 Conduit Street, Soho, London, W1S 2XG

020 7659 4500


Opening Times

Tues-Fri 12N-2.15pm Tues-Sat 7-11pm


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16 Reviews 

Corinne B

08 July 2019  
Fabulous surroundings with lots of space. The food was beautiful too.

Alex G

08 February 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
Top of its league

The title says it all. Sketch may have been open since 2003 but it deservedly remains one of the best fine dining locations in London, its two Michelin stars thoroughly merited. A meal in its Lecture Room & Library was my culinary highlight of 2018, and a return visit there on a recent Saturday night reinforced how Sketch could also be in contention for the 2019 award. What makes it so good? Well to merit two stars, the experience needs to be the complete package: atmosphere, service, food and drink. Indeed, it was hard to fault any of these. Without wishing to repeat comments from my previous review, Sketch delivers opulent decadence by the spoonful: think a beautifully decorated room, where everything seems tastefully thought-through yet neither over the top nor out of place. When it comes to the food, no wonder the word panache is a French one, for this adjective perhaps best describes what Pierre Gagnaire and his team attempts here. Across a six-course tasting menu (omnivorous for me, vegetarian for my comrade), there was ample opportunity to demonstrate the practical application of this noun. My menu began with the artfully named ‘magenta’, an offering of pink sea bream and gambero Rossi coated with quince gel and combined with Jerusalem artichoke jelly and sliced cauliflower. If ever there were one, then this was a bold and inspired combination which worked perfectly, the flavours melding seamlessly. Elsewhere, a scallop dish served with braised turnips and seaweed butter (pictured) and a daring pairing of poached cod with a foie gras cream impressed, while my comrade rated highly her ‘Chantilly Lace’, a lovely marriage of onion subise with black winter truffle. Paired wines throughout showed great thought too, with a quite unique Chinon from 1989 being the stand-out glass. Nonetheless, Sketch saved the best until last with its ‘grand dessert’ selection, namely, vignettes of six different puddings. Monsieur Gagnaire himself, we were told, comes over from France every two/three months to compose the next set. The overall experience is far from cheap (£250/head all-in), but goddam is it worth it.

Alex G

28 June 2018  
A cavern of opulence and decadence, which also serves exceptionally good food. Diners should be prepared for an experience.

Corinne B

27 June 2018  
Again a very good experience. The dã©cor is unusual and striking. There is a lot of space but it still feels intimate. The food and service were faultless. The tasting menu was delicious and am so glad that i've had the opportunity to go to Sketch.

Patrick B

04 May 2017  
Superb in all aspects!

Christopher Y

26 May 2016  
Probably one of the most interesting places to eat in London with many many small plates of delectable treats.

Paul A

13 January 2016  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4.5
Mostly very impressive
Following the disappointing experience we had had at Gagnaire’s Rue Balzac branch, we had put off eating here and were almost half hoping that we would find Sketch to be somewhere that we wouldn’t want to return to - if it turned out to be yet another two-star restaurant in Mayfair we liked it would be overegging the pudding; so perhaps we might have been looking for things to criticise. Nevertheless, from the welcomes to the goodbyes, we were pleasantly struck by the show of professional yet relaxed expertise at all levels, in the kitchen, front of house and wine selection, with the one minor drawback for us being the rather over-designed dining rooms and the dark stairway leading up to them. We still think that the tasting menu is the best way to judge a chef’s talent over the whole range of dishes, and the youthful head chef, Johannes Luding, didn’t disappoint, even with the modest size of the kitchen available to him. A good selection of fizz heralded the impressive wine list, which cannot be consulted on line, and a glass of Rémy Le Mesnil made a suitable companion for some very good canapés - Martini vodka jelly, tarragon croquettes, squid ink wafers with goat’s cheese, chorizo with crunchy beetroot, and, just as delicious, some warm little Parmesan biscuits. We were now well and truly ready to take on the first dish. I am partial to the bold taste of hare, and the terrine was bolstered with judicious amounts of foie gras and truffle and neatly balanced against red cabbage, redcurrant and cubes of quince jelly, all laced with Guinness. There seems to be an inevitability about scallops being on menus at the moment, but the top chefs are succeeding in caramelising them just perfectly and here they were cooked just right, like pommes anna and bathing in a light curry sauce with leeks and celery. An absolute stonker of a dish “From the sea” followed: a Gagnaire original called bouillon Zézette, a wonderful mushroom and coconut sauce, offering up a superb oyster, an artichoke cream worked up to something special, top-class smoky black garlic with cauliflower, tender razor clams, prawns, caramelised salsify, and even the humble Paris mushrooms were a step above the norm. Next came poached and grilled wild bass with a brilliant coating of mimolette, a star anise-perfumed pumpkin velouté, Italian pumpkin because of its particular qualities we were informed, soya bean sprouts, grapes, chicory and walnuts. No question of local sourcing with the main course either - the lovely pigeon was from Angers, roasted whole after marinating in lemon and cumin, which accounted for its tenderness and its not-too-gamey flavour which found a counterpoint in a terrific Puy lentil, physalis and daikon mix with a portion of proper sauerkraut to round it off. A word here about the accompanying wines, which were good to very good at the price, especially the amazing Ch Figeac 1970 with the pigeon and the Ch Rieussec with the Grand Dessert, the latter another Gagnaire signature combination comprising a sequence of six small desserts, all of them quite sublime: a kind of deconstructed Linzer Torte with cinnamon and pomegranate, a coconut velouté, passion fruit and sorbet, pineapple crisp with a deconstructed (again) toffee (pine)apple and cream, and chocolate crisp with tangerine segments, all this and delightful petits fours. Altogether a very worthwhile experience and one that we look forward to repeating. So, just one more two-star venue to go; there is in fact another one that we have not tried, The Araki, but we are discounting it on three points of principle - firstly, its dismissive unwillingness to accommodate dietary requirements, secondly, we refuse to pay £300 per person for the privilege, and thirdly, we find its immediate award of two stars difficult to swallow when there are still genuinely classy restaurants without any star recognition after many years of producing the goods at a price we can afford.

Ian M

20 March 2014  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4.5
For birthday's and anniversary's, my wife and I treat each other to special occasion meals. Over the last nine years we have been working our way through London's Michelin-starred restaurants. In March, we made our way to Sketch. It is exceptional. At every level. The ingredients were superlative, the preparation and presentation meticulous. The end result was stunning cuisine that showcased Pierre Gagnaire's total mastery of flavours. Combined with a funky West End setting, a wine list beyond compare, exemplary service by staff of the highest quality and turned out in Saville Row tailoring, Sketch is worth a special journey. Not the cheapest but you get what you pay for. Sketch is a class act and ranks as our favourite restaurant in nine years of trying!. Three stars cannot be far away…

Joanna R

03 July 2013  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Sketch - Certainly Not Sketchy!
This restaurant is fantastic. The staff are friendly, helpful and professional and the surroundings are beautiful and interesting. I was in the Lecture Room with one other for a dinner meeting at 7pm on a Tuesday. Perfect in terms of acoustics and noise levels. It's not uncomfortably quiet, but it is quiet which means you can chat easily. The food was outstanding, chosen from a menu which had just the right amount of choice in my opinion. A taster menu is available for a reasonable price, but I had the scallop dish which I can vouch for as being delicous. The attention to detail, not only with regards to the food is pretty unbelievable. The staff although very professional, were also very happy which makes for an even better experience and atmosphere. You could go mad and spend an absolute fortune, but you really don't have to. I will definitely be going back.

Julian C

25 January 2013  
Food & Drink 4
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 2.5
What a disappointment. It was our anniversary dinner (which they were told, so you think they'd make a bit of an effort) but the service was dreadful. We waited 45 minutes for a fish dish, as part of the tasting menu, only to be told that “the kitchen was busy” when we complained. No one came to apologise, and the fish eventually arrived after an hours wait. By then we weren't in the mood for the remaining courses – goodness knows how long they would have made us wait again! The waiters then avoided eye contact and we had to ask the sommelier to get the manager and the bill. After another 15 minute wait, the bill arrived with a different explanation for the delay. The discount offered didn't really reflect the fact that we hadn't been served most of the meal, let alone the bad experience. We weren't the only table to complain about slow service, so there seems to be a wider problem… It was a real shame, as we had been really looking forward to the evening.
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