If you haven’t seen or heard of the “pink room” or egg loos at Sketch, I think it’s fair to say that you’ve been living under a rock, or at least are not very well-versed in the world of Instagram.
Sketch is composed of a number of rooms, including its famed two Michelin-starred gastronomic fine dining restaurant, ‘The Lecture Room & Library’ (of which Angie recently wrote a glowing review), a rather more casual downstairs French brasserie-style restaurant, ‘The Gallery’, where Hannah & I dined, a tearoom, ‘The Parlour’, and an awesome enchanted forest-themed bar, ‘The Glade’, perfect for comfort food & cocktails.
Sketch is the brainchild of three Michelin-starred Parisian chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, whose combined vision for Sketch was to create a destination for food, art and music.
Hence in 2012, The Gallery was transformed into what is now widely-referred to as the “pink room” (unsurprisingly due to the overwhelming amount of pink), which, when you absorb the pink upholstery, walls and ceiling all at once, with its shiny pink booths and ‘ladyfinger’ chairs, oversized white lightbulbs and gold accents, is quite literally my dream every little girl’s dream house.
All the pink, however, is actually intended to function merely as a backdrop to celebrated British artist David Shrigley’s works.
With 239 new works lining The Gallery’s walls, the collection forms the largest group of original drawings that David Shrigley has ever exhibited.
History lesson over, let’s move on to why you actually started to read this post.
The cuisine is described as ‘New French’, and is a loose adaptation of the cuisine served in Gagnaire’s three Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris and is executed by Hervé Deville and Johannes Nuding.
^ I enjoyed this muchly.
Hannah & I toasted to our girls night with two gin-based cocktails (£13.50 each).
The restaurant was impressively full for a Tuesday night creating an excellent buzz, though it did mean that service left a lot to be desired.
Opting for a bottle of the house white, ‘Les Gites blanc’ (£25.00), to accompany our meal, we set about tucking into our shared starters.
First, the charcuterie plate with secreto 07, Yves Le Guel “Paris” ham, culatello, mortadella, pickles, toasted sourdough, pate d’orange (£18.00).
The assortment was a disappointing affair, with the subtle flavoured meats all melding into one, and the mortadella reminding me of that dreadful Billy Bear ham which some of my friends got given in their lunchbox at school.
^ Yeeeep, that’s the one.
However, the tiny smear of pate d’orange certainly wasn’t lacking in flavour, with the deep citrus flavour overpowering any hint of duck that once existed.
For £18.00, I could have selected a much better & bigger selection from Tesco to feast on.
Second, the escargots persillade, cauliflower cream with black garlic (£16.00).
The complete opposite to our previous starter, this dish was excellent.
The snails were a slick, non-chewy delight, and absolutely divine in the garlicky, creamy rich sauce.
More bread was requested to mop up every last drop of the liquid gold.
For mains, both Hannah & I ordered the Sketch filet de boeuf tartare Winter 2016 (£24.00).
It was distinctly average, with the meat severely lacking in flavour & seasoning.
The cold, overworked, doughy pipeline of mashed potato didn’t exactly set my heart on fire either. And don’t even get me started on the misplaced accompanying fried sandwich.
Although I absolutely loved the presentation of the dishes.
Shrigley continues to exhibit his works on the restaurant tables via the use of ceramic crockery which feature his distinctive mordant drawings and texts.
I’m pleased to say that the sides were much more of a success than the main event.
The creamed spinach (£5.00) was everything that it should have been, whilst the French fries (£5.00) were the perfect size for me, hot, crunchy & salty.
The basket of steamed vegetables (£6.00) balanced them both out nicely, allowing us to *almost* convince ourselves that we were blowing the health trumpet.
Hannah & I had a really fab night in unique and fun surroundings but, at Sketch’s pricing, that simply isn’t good enough. The food & service was really off the mark and I personally wouldn’t return.
Ok, maybe just to use their loos.
On an entertaining side note, it seems that Hannah & I weren’t the first to have issues with Sketch’s customer service, which grabbed the spotlight of media attention earlier this year upon refusing to give a diner their requested doggy bag on the basis that “the council doesn’t allow it” (LOL), and subsequently cancelled the same customer’s upcoming reservation.
The world (literally) went mad for the story and Sketch received serious condemnation (much to my afternoon’s amusement) for their decision.
On an equally unrelated note, the doorman makes for a pretty pro photographer, moving and crouching here, there and everywhere; it definitely wasn’t the first time he’s been stuck a DSLR so don’t let his talents go wasted if you visit!