‘Comfort food’, cocktails and afternoon tea are the mainstays of Sketch’s most egalitarian dining area. You can walk into Parlour without a booking, and it’s open early until late (although it’s members only after 9pm), making a great introduction to the always-surprising world of this expensively refurbed Georgian townhouse.
When Sketch opened almost ten years ago, it was the decor that grabbed the headlines – maximalist, opulent, over the top, playful, arty and original. There’s still constantly something new to attract the eye: a saucily embroidered sofa, a mid-century tea set, a hopscotch court painted in the entrance hall. And the toilets are the most extraordinary in London. It’s all brilliant fun.
That our evaluation of the cooking comes so late in this review might tell you that food isn’t the most important part of the operation. Although the afternoon tea is classy, lunch – familiar dishes such as macaroni cheese, beef tartare, smoked salmon bagel – is merely decent and doesn’t begin to justify the hefty prices.
Superstar chef Pierre Gagnaire’s creative touch is more evident in dishes such as the ‘club sandwich’, with thai mayonnaise and ‘sweet and sour coriander onions’. Occasionally forgetful service comes from a series of stunners, who can be haughty.
From day-to-day the Parlour is home to the finest delicacies of the sketch chefs. Lounge on a variety of Louis XV-style seating in the quirky and eccentric patisserie, restaurant and bar from breakfast through to comfort food lunches and afternoon tea for up to six persons until the last drink before home.
The Parlour turns into a cocktail bar from 6pm to 2am (members-only from 9.30pm).