Although I have drunk a number of times at the very ritzy, interesting Sketch bar, I’m yet to eat there. The gallery restaurant sits in between the main foyer and the egg-shaped cocktail room (you need to visit the toilets for an interesting alien-like experience) and this is where we ate. There’s is a good reason I haven’t eaten at Sketch as well – because all of the art-themed decore and beautiful surroundings, the unique and its in-the-heart-of-Mayfair location definitely reflects in the prices you pay for the food and drink.
I believe the Sketch Gallery restaurant is the more casual of the two dining locations. The other being a more upmarket restaurant that holds a Michelin star although I don’t really know if it is more formal or fancy. I’m just guessing.
What’s fascinating about the Gallery restaurant is how everything is totally unique – and it’s the interesting attention to detail to ensure that nothing is repeated. The theme goes right all the way through, and I can appreciate the effort. Cutlery, drinking vessels, tables, chairs, all of them completely different. Even the salt and pepper shakers at each table are different.
You could argue this makes replacing broken or missing items much easier, but each item is still pretty high quality. Anyway, on to the food. Bread and butter doesn’t come for free, but at least it was pretty good quality. It really should at £4.
We started with two different dishes. I tried the Chantilly Lace: black rice, basmati rice, lobster bisque, red pepper, horseradish cream (£13). The allure of a good lobster bisque is something I can’t really resist and it was very well executed as well. I did find the double rice combination a bit strange, and would have preferred more bisque and less rice. Still very good.
The other starter was the Foie gras terrine, girolles in vinegar, cranberry chutney, quince paste and pistachio (£24).
The Poached, roasted and lacquered pork belly, crunchy red cabbage, salad was actually reasonable at £20, although I only had a small taste. The pork belly was tender, not too fatty and still full of flavour.
I had ordered the Roast wild venison saddle, and lemon purée, quince paste, shoulder of venison stew, Jerusalem artichokes (£30) and boy was it good. The venison stew was probably the best part of the entire dish although the venison saddle was cooked extremely well (rare!) and still very tender. I just love anything that is so soft, full of flavour and the stew was the perfect vehicle to carry all the other flavours.
We opted to try a couple of sides as well. The strangely sounding (and just as strangely tasting) gnocchi with green curry sauce (£5) and a stack of onion rings (£4) very well executed. Each ring perfectly crisp and a decent sized onion strip inside.
Although none of the desserts really jumped out at me, I figured I wouldn’t be back for a very long time, so it was worth trying something. Just like the main menu, it took me a while deliberating over the crazy choices. They all sounded so complicated and the result sounded quite confusing. In the end we asked for a couple of recommendations and ordered them. The one that I didn’t order, the Sketch Chocolat – Salted butter caramel, sacher sponge cake, guanaja chocolate mousse, orange ice cream. (£10) was probably the best. The orange ice cream by itself was one of the best parts.
I didn’t really want to order the same although that one appealed the most. Instead, I had the Cheese cake – Elderflower sponge cake, cheesecake cream, ‘bono’ shortbread, candied lemon, pear sorbet (£8.5), a lighter and more delicate dessert that was completely the opposite of what you think of when you are ordering a real cheesecake. It was still a very pleasing dessert, though not the best I’ve ever had.
Sketch Gallery is definitely best reserved for one of those special occasions. The price definitely adds up for the meal and that’s not even including the drinks that would add significantly more if you want to try all their amazing cocktails. Still, it was a great experience and I think that’s what they are all about.
Name: Sketch Gallery Restaurant
Found at: 9 conduit street, London W1S 2XG