There is a certain minimum standard you expect from a Michelin 3-star restaurant from the time when you walk into their premise – after all, first impression counts. It didn’t go well for me at the reception – told the receptionist my name, and then she asked which “room” did I book the reservation. I said I couldn’t remember, and instead of looking it up straight away on her computer, she waited for me to look my reservation email up on my phone, because she had Google Search open?! In the end, she suddenly seemed to remember that she could have easily checked on her system and also on the paper printout that my booking was for the Lecture Room & Library. Now, if I had invited guests who came to the restaurant separately, I would only have told them that the meal was at Sketch, and not have told them which “dining room” the booking was.
The decor in the Lecture Room & Library somehow reminded me The 8 Restaurant in Macau – there’s a real heaviness that I never really like. Still, that’s just a personal preference.
We decided to go for the tasting menu, which was quite reasonably priced at £165 per person, considering that it’s a 3-star restaurant in Mayfair in London. However, there’s a good reason for that – the drinks were ridiculously expensive (well, I’d like to say the markup was way too unreasonable). That’s how they made the money.
The amuse-bouche were presented quite beautifully but they were all presented at the same time on the table, resulting in quite a bit of musical chairs with the crockery.
There were 3 types of bread with 3 different butters – there’s nothing extraordinary about any of them – nice but not memorable in any way.
The first course came in 2 separate dishes and 1 glass. Just like the amuse-bouche, it’s crockery musical chair time! I am not understanding the purpose of serving the different components of a course with full-size bowls like this. The flavours were fine, but the number of dishes on the table was getting on my nerves by this point.
The fish course was poached Scottish steelhead trout fillet – thank God it only came on one plate! The fish was nicely cooked – did the combination of all the ingredients and the execution live up to 3-star experience? Not so sure.
Following on from the fish course was a cocotte of fresh morels perfumed with liquorice, lettuce and limousin veal sweetbread, with a milk foam infused with Madagascan peppercorns, and also with pickled baby turnip slices scattered in the dish.
The next fish course was the flaked confit line-caught pollock served with an Ostrecia caviar buerre blanc.
For the meat course, it came on 2 dishes (which wasn’t so bad I guess – at least I didn’t really have to rearrange the dishes) – it’s Welsh lamb marinated with oregano with organic lemon paste, Swiss chard and wild garlic pesto. The dish on the side is couscous with chickpeas, Grezzine courgette and dry apricots cooked in an Oriental bouillon. Tasty but the lamb was somewhat on the chewy side.
The dessert was Pierre Gagnaire’s Grand Dessert, which came in 6 different dishes simultaneously. Again, it’s musical chair time. I know that this might look impressive from a presentation point of view, but totally impractical – if the large plate and the large bowl can be replaced by smaller sized dishes, then at least I can line the dishes up without having to swap the dishes round.
OK, it was Russell’s birthday and so at least they remembered to surprise him with a little birthday cake! (I only remembered to take the picture after he blew out the candle)
The bill was presented inside a book… OK, I guessed that’s the theme of the “Lecture Room and Library” then. How much was the damage? Lets say the food itself was 1/3 of the total bill – the other 2/3 was on 5 glasses of alcohol (and we weren’t exactly choosing the most expensive ones either – the final bill could have been far more eye-watering if we had gone for the top ones)…. and note, it’s 5 “glasses” of 125mL each – 2 glasses of champagne and 3 glasses of wine in total. I guess that’s their way to make money.
Would I head back to Sketch again? Very unlikely. The food was fine but it’s nothing spectacular. The crockery musical chair really annoyed me, and the decor just wasn’t for me – it just felt heavy and uncomfortable. Comparing this to a few other 3-star restaurants around the world, I’d rather spend my money at another restaurant.
Address: 9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 7659 4500
Total: 13/20 [Based on visits in May 2022 ]