So one fine day, I decided to visit Sketch.
What is Sketch you ask? Is that something that artists do? Just drawing and doodling given a fancy name so that they can charge you more? Sketch, at least least the restaurant, it actually 5 minute restaurants all housed in the same building. All entertaining very different styles and decor. From breakfast cafe to fine dining.
It was the latter where my obviously exquisite tastes would lead me. Actually, that is a lie. I was going to Sketch based on the strong recommendations of a friend who’s taste in food has so far been impeccable. My taste in food is, as with all people, highly individualistic. Although I would hope that I would come up with treasure more than rubbish.
It started off promisingly. The first restaurant that I have been to that serves you, not 1, not 2, but 4 amuse bouche. Sketch, you caught me from the start.
Look at them all waiting for you.
First up was a little jelly made of liquor to cleanse the pallet. Ice cold and refreshing.
Second up was squid ink reduced into a long black stick. In a light lovely consume to add taste. The squid stick was so long and delicate, that it was easy to break it into shards. The danger here with not so careful diners, would be that it could possibly end up entering your other breathing orifice which is not your mouth.
Now humus done with red berries to add just a little kick.
Some parmesan chips. I could happily eat these all day. Indeed, I had to be mindful not to stuff my face with the whole bowl/plate? A good start. Well satisfied with the freebies. Free things (at least for me) always leave a pleasant after taste.
This was just a warm up, because next up, were the starters.
That’s alot of dishes for the starter you may think. So let me break it down for you.
At Sketch, for the lunch set at least, you get to choose exactly one thing. What you want for a main. Seafood, land based meat or vegetarian fare. Everything else comes in batches or perhaps more accurately described as small tasting portions. The chef (rightly at least for me) does not think that diners will necessarily choose the best combination of dishes, so he only leaves diners the big picture choices. Much as a private airplane owner just decides which city he wants to visit and lets the pilot deal with the rest of unimportant things such as avoiding mountains/planes etc. Why leave things to chance? Although arguably that is how we all are here in modern society because two apes decided it would be fun to bang together two rocks.
Lemon cured salmon. A light taste complemented by horseradish and mayonnaise.
Escargot. Or for those to whom foreign languages are a challenge (like me), snails in a rich salsa tomato sauce. These were pleasantly not as chewy as my previous experiences and were flavoured just right by the sauce which managed to avoid overpowering the taste of the escargot.
Sweet corn ice cream on a bed of paimpol beans. Ice cream made out of sweet corn? It was very interesting. Although the previous ice cream I had here, mushroom ice cream, blew this out of the water. Interesting but not really engaging to me, maybe it would appeal to a more refined palate.
Broccoli cream with wasabi and almonds together with a coil of anchovies. The strong taste of the fish was well balanced by the brocolli.
And now for the main event. The only thing I could choose. The main course. It better be good!
Lamb shoulder. Served medium rare with cream of white vegetables. Sketch had somehow managed to remove the strong taste of “lambiness” while still leaving no question about where this was from. It avoided any lingering aftertaste almost as if you managed to avoid the bitter almonds taste after going down a terrifying rollercoaster ride.
The reward for enjoying or enduring this far was:
Macaroon with sorbet filling.
Chocolate. With some light crumbly sticks of parfait which are no doubt difficult to make, just that I cannot remember what they were called.
Desserts were not as inspired as the amuse bouche (squid ink stick!?) but still managed to please the tongue.
To finish, a few petit fours.
From right to left, white chocolate “hat” filled with chocolate, dark chocolate tart and cleansing jelly. I confess a bit of a weakness for the white chocolate conjurations on the right, not too sweet and not too bitter. In the words of Goldilocks, just right. The staff may have noticed my entranced/leering stare at said item and offered to bring me a second helping of this. To which I readily availed myself of.
Sketch was definitely my cup of tea or in this case coffee.
Altogether a very satisfying meal. The above was actually a very reasonable (at least to me) price of GBP40 excluding service. Although I will not profess a lack of bias here, as I have graced this establishment 3 times previously. Definitely somewhere I would recommend for a special occasion. I was also fortunate enough to have tried the tasting menu previously, which was sublime. However, there are unfortunately no photos, as I was too busy stuffing my face. I think it came up to 40? or so individual dishes. Definitely a tasting menu!
The lunch set menu also fails to disappoint, although the tasting menu is obviously grander in scope (and price), so I would heartily recommend both. Your choice may depend on budgetary restraints and who you happen to bring along to keep you company. And of course the small matter of whether you are dining to impress, reward or simply enjoy and who of course will pick up the requisite bill.
A quiet eating 9/10.
Lunch (3 courses) was GBP40 excluding service but including a cup of coffee.
9 Conduit St, Mayfair,
London W1S 2XG