From the outside Sketch could be just another one of Mayfair's private member's clubs. You know the sort; well kept white painted, stucco fronted Georgian townhouses, guarded by the obligatory bowler hat adorned doorman. Take the first step through the door, though, and you find yourself in a fairytale house, each room more different and stranger than the last.
In fact, the whole building is all rather crazy fabulous and reminiscent of a set from Alice in Wonderland or Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. A hopscotch chalked on the floor leads you inside from the front door (of course I couldn't resist it, such a child!) to the main desk with a neon art installation inciting you to "jouez" behind it. That kind of sums the whole place up, its all about play.
Sketch's website advertises the afternoon tea as being served in "The Glade" which is effectively one of the bars adjacent to the main restaurant. The walls are painted as a forest and a giant chandelier of branches hangs overhead. LED projectors on the back wall beam little red lights onto the walls refracted by moving mirrors. Whilst its all very pretty, it might have been less disconcerting if the moving lights were white like little zippy fireflies rather than the wandering bright red lights which made you feel every so often as though a rogue sniper had locked his laser target on your dining companion's head.
So how did it measure up on the afternoon tea scale? Visually the Berkeley really would take some beating but purely on a taste basis Sketch was a winner for the combination of flavours and avoidance of over cloying sweetness. That said The Berkeley, although a bit less trendy, felt like more of a treat so I'd probably go back there before Sketch. One thing that is worth remembering though is that afternoon tea is served until 6pm so it does make a more novel alternative to pre theatre dining in the West End.
9 Conduit Street, London. W1S 2XG
+44 (0) 207 659 4500