The arresting entrance hall, with its high-impact artworks and greeters who are part-cast and part-personal assistant, are cues that you are entering not just a building of dizzying grandeur, but a designed world with a playful, theatrical bent. Sketch’s Lecture Room & Library is up a very fine staircase.
Flooded with light from a glass ceiling dome, and governed by immaculately tailored staff, it’s the most classical space in the complex, with the food providing the trademark fantastical note. It’s a positive procession of the pretty, witty and gay, from the first amuse-bouche to the last pink petit four.
Our set lunch comprised 15 or so different dishes, using a gazetteer of ingredients and a battery of techniques: highly accomplished cooking whose dainty presentation belies its seriousness. There’s so much going on – within dishes and in the combination of dishes served as one course – that you surrender yourself to the cumulative experience. Just a few examples from one meal: bream sashimi; langoustine consommé with wild garlic, kaffir and dill, blood-orange jelly and spring cabbage; pork belly confit with tamarillo purée, celery, Japanese medlar, celery stick and potato foam with comté cheese; lemon and beer ice-cream with raspberries.
It’s quite a trip, as is the wine list, which isn’t all at fantasy prices. The sommelier clearly loves his work, and is as happy to recommend beer as he is to favour a prestige claret if the dish demands it.
Ascend the stairs to the Lecture Room & Library, Sketch’s two-Michelin Starred fine dining restaurant.
With an aesthetic created by leading interior designer, Gahban O’Keeffe, all tasting and a la carte menus are devised by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire, offering a unique breadth of ingredients and complexity of combinations.
The extensive and acclaimed wine list was awarded ‘Best Award for Excellence’ by the Wine Spectator and AA Guide’s ‘Best UK Wine List’.