It’s quite something to step into a room in reality that you’ve seen more than a thousand times on social media beforehand. The pastel Gallery at Sketch must be, we’re confident in saying, the most photographed room in the capital and its appeal has endured, more than 15 years on.
Nobody finds themselves in this haute homage to a powder room for half measures, including artist David Shrigley. No fewer than 96 of his works are displayed in the Gallery, which functions as a restaurant, exhibition space and – thanks to India Mahdavi’s interior designs – the closest thing London has to a walk-in bubble-gum bubble. All pastel and plush, the playful space even has its very own app; an augmented reality piece of kit that allows diners to project elements of the prints hanging on the walls onto their live pictures and videos.
In line with the theatrical surrounds, the staff fulfil their duties with a near-thespian flourish: intense but charming and underneath the show smiles are people who really know their stuff, advising on the lengthy, luxurious drinks list and wordy menu.
If it’s true that you eat as much with your eyes as you do your mouth, the riotous dishes from chef Frédéric Don won’t disappoint. A pretty flower-like arrangement of scallop carpaccio with salmon roe, green apple and avocado was pleasantly mild, with thick cut meat bringing subtle sweet notes. Elsewhere, a main of poached turbot was presented on circular lines of sweet artichoke puree that were reminiscent of water marks in the sand, and while picture-perfect, it came out lukewarm and lacked much contrast which might have been found in some citrus acidity.
Pudding brought a baked Alaska surrounded by candy floss clouds that were doused in burning alcohol tableside, to make for an instant whisky syrup. Here flavours of chocolate and blood orange cooled and complimented one another for a fun, fruity finish.
With mains setting you back anywhere between £30-45, an experience at Sketch doesn’t come cheap. We hate to say it, but the Gallery at Sketch is less about the food and more about the whole performance. Our advice? Plump for pudding and a well-made cocktail at the bar to enjoy the surrounds for a snip of the price.