Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Breakfast at Sketch, Mayfair

Sunday was my dear friend (and fellow blogger!) Runawaykiwi's birthday. She'd been going on about having afternoon tea with me at Sketch (in that pink room), but it hasn't happened yet, since you have to book that like, months in advance. Undeterred, I decided to take her there for breakfast instead - without telling her where we were going.

We met, bright and early on Sunday morning, outside & Other Stories on Argyll Street, and wandered down Regent Street, turning right on Conduit Street, before Rebecca started shouting, "Are we going there? Are we going there?" as we approached Sketch.

"No, sorry!" I said. "They were full - we're heading up the street a little further." Of course, this was followed by me swivelling on my heel and shouting, "PSYCH!!!" in her face.

We're super mature.

I resisted taking too many photos, as I didn't want to detract from the birthday girl's celebrations, but I couldn't help sharing photos of the beautiful room we dined in ... we were the first ones there (before the rest of the breakfast crew begun trickling in), so I managed to get a few quick snaps before the room filled up.

From the tufts of yarn made to resemble grass on the rug; to the red laser "fireflies" that darted about the room; to the plush, purple velvet chairs; to the extraordinarily detailed walls, dining in the Glade at Sketch is very much like living in a page out of a storybook. I also felt as though we'd been plucked off the street and deposited on a film/theater set. At any moment, I half-expected actors to burst in and perform a soliloquy from A Midsummer Night's Dream. A neon pink player piano sat at the door, performing everything from Chopin to covers of pop songs, and we perused the menu while sipping a flat white (for Rebecca) and a chocolate peanut butter smoothie (for me).

Since I originally published this post, the artist, stylist, and designer Carolyn Quartermaine reached out to me on Instagram to tell me more about the design process behind the Glade - a room she created with artist Didier Mahieu. Carolyn said: "We glued over 35,000 pieces [of d├ęcoupages paper] to create. All the fabrics are hand-painted too. A lot of love has gone into the Glade ... the bar shelves are [made from] 200-year-old oak, hand-sanded and shaped ... I wanted a magical flower garden."

Isn't that special? The result is a fully immersive experience, where the guest is invited to dine in another world - one that very much resembles Carolyn's vision of a "magical flower garden".

On to the food: somewhat disappointingly, there weren't stacks of crepes or French toast to order (although there are a wide range of pastries to choose from), but Rebecca and I both chose the parmesan scrambled eggs with mushrooms, with sides of bacon and sourdough toast.

I especially loved the quirky crockery (which is available to purchase at reception - in case you're in the market for a house-warming gift!).

Breakfast at Sketch isn't cheap, but it's not crazily priced either (although, I did have a dream the night before that our bill came to £577). Our eggs, toast, and drinks came to roughly £45, which is just about right for a once-in-a-blue-moon, decadent, birthday breakfast.

It's crazy; it's theatrical; it's over the top. But it's done so well. Not a single detail is omitted nor a corner neglected. 

And what I liked most about our experience is that we never felt rushed (although I've heard a different story when it comes to afternoon tea next door); staff were friendly, polite, and attentive.

Have you been to Sketch? What did you think? I'd love to go back - if just for another glimpse of that pink room (and the famous bathroom, of course!).

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