A magical forest. Chairs wearing ballet shoes. Luxuriously fabric-ed walls as far as the eye can see. If a restaurant had just one of these things, we’d be pretty intrigued right now. But when that place has all of these things, and a Mayfair postcode to boot, we’re practically straining at the leash to get inside. sketch is the creation of restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and celebrated chef Pierre Gagnaire, and every inch of it practically begs to be Instagrammed. That’s without even mentioning the fact that the venue hides five different settings, each with its own identity!
Visitors to sketch are greeted by a neon installation courtesy of Diane Harris. The pieces bathe the entrance hallway in eerie, yet inviting, shades of flickering blue and purple. It’s the kind of entrance that entices you and dares to find out more. As such, it in turn does a brilliant job of summing up the entire restaurant, whose many rooms and doors reward the adventurous. It’s only by trying that door handle, or walking down that corridor, that you’ll find all of sketch’s secrets. And, trust us, you want to discover them all.
The reception area is constantly changing at sketch, and over its 20-year history has hosted a plethora of artists and designers on its walls and in its halls. It gives the restaurant the feeling of an art gallery, or an ever-changing painting, constantly in flux and being redrawn and redesigned.
Across five different settings, sketch offers up a whole host of dining and drinking experiences. These range from the dramatic, forest-filled The Glade, to the stark, retro-futuristic eggs in The East Bar, and beyond.
Confused? Five rooms? In one restaurant? And they’re all different?
Allow us to explain:
sketch is actually a hub of separate restaurants and bars, each with its own spectacular design and accompanying menu. They’re all worth a visit, or at least a peek! Especially given how truly unique each one is.
The Gallery at sketch
A vibrant gastro-brasserie, The Gallery is well-loved by London’s foodies for its striking appearance. Once clad in a full-on pink proliferation, a redesign from British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare and architect India Mahdavi in 2022 saw the venue take on a warm yellow, gold, and copper colour palette. This is complemented by site-specific artworks created especially for the space that evoke a touch of Africa in the space. These include hand-carved wooden masks and framed quilts, modelled after African masks collected by Pablo Picasso. Head to The Gallery for afternoon tea or dinner in incredible environs.
The Lecture Room and Library at sketch
If you’re after a truly unforgettable meal, head over to The Lecture Room and Library, the restaurant that won sketch its three Michelin stars.
The room just oozes luxury and opulence. It hosts dinners from Wednesday to Saturday, and lunch on Friday and Saturday. As well as a seriously premium a la carte menu, this is the home of sketch’s epic tasting menu. It’s not exactly cheap, but we’re going to go ahead and point at those Three Michelin Stars again… Yeah, there could be a reason for the cost! They also have an award-winning selection of by-the-glass wines, so you know every aspect of your time there will be stunning.
The Parlour at sketch
For a more casual (and relatively affordable!) encounter, how about a cocktail in sketch’s fabulous Parlour? This all-day café offers breakfasts all week, from scrambled eggs to acai bowls, then a concise lunch menu of comforting delights until 5pm. Into the evening, while the other rooms dish out daring dinners, the Parlour turns down the lights and focuses on serving up cocktails and small bites.
The Glade at sketch
For our money, the prettiest room at sketch is The Glade. It’s also arguably the most famous of their rooms. Redesigned in 2017, The Glade was re-imagined as a mythical forest, complete with a seriously fluffy carpet designed to look like a forest floor. The designers took inspiration from early twentieth-century wallpaper when redecorating the walls, resulting in those gorgeous paper trees.
Trees adorn the walls, and touches of gold, velvet seating, and a tinted glass ceiling accent the whole affair. There’s no other word for it: this place is stunning. The Glade offers a lunch garden menu and cocktails at night, as well as snacks to keep your appetite at bay, of course.
The East Bar & Pods
But to find the most visually striking, or at the very least, distinctive, part of sketch, you’ll have to head to the toilets. Oh yes. They might look like eggs, but these futuristic space pods are in fact fully-functioning loos. And if you find yourself here, tradition dictates you must capture a snap for social media. Head around the pods/eggs/toilets and down some stairs and you’ll even find the hidden East Bar. As sketch says: “what is this place? All you wish, a restroom… A photobooth… An evening bar for cocktails & DJ’s… that too.”
London Design Festival at sketch
For the London Design Festival, the iconic restaurant has partnered up with a number of design groups for a special exhibition exploring ‘Crafted Wonder’. Installations from La Manufacture Cogolin, Lasvit, and Julian Carter Design, play off and respond to their surroundings, creating a conversation between the existing decor and the new works.
French rug atelier La Manufacture Cogolin has taken over sketch’s Reception with an installation of their past collaboration with the late designer Christian Bérard. Visitors are immediately enchanted by the modernist colours and adaptations of the brand’s pieces.
Meanwhile, the iconic Glade dining room has been given a truly spectacular centrepiece. Glass artists from Lasvit have created a special gold edition of their signature Herbarium chandelier. Comprising hundreds of hand-made glass pieces, it reflects, illuminates, and shines inside the room’s botanical setting.
And then, over in the East Bar & Pods is a piece that confuses the viewers and seems to defy gravity. Julian Carter Design has installed a series of interlocking square cubes made up of thin steel rods. The cubes seem to suspend themselves and balance themselves precariously, and dominate the stark white room.
sketch has also created a number of limited-edition cocktails and a bespoke cake to celebrate the installations. The exhibition and special menu options will only be in place until October 16, so don’t delay your trip to check it out!
A meal at sketch is not an everyday occurrence (if it is, we’re insanely jealous). However, for those days you’re feeling Extra Fancy, and looking for somewhere fabulous to go, sketch will fill both your stomach and your Instagram feed rather nicely…
Also published on Medium.