A friend’s birthday led me to this pink frenzy. Everyone looks infinitely rosier in these surroundings, not least my photos! Sketch is the epitome of style but is it over substance? I’d say half and half. The meal I had was pleasant with glimpses of interest but on the whole I felt Sketch’s roar was bigger than its bite.
At £29 for a rump steak I was expecting something special, or I could just hop over to Hawksmoor for three courses for that price. Whilst Sketch’s steak was good, it was still disappointingly chewy on the sides even when it was medium rare. The cabbage nest it was sitting inside did nothing to the dish and instead it was my friend’s crunchy vegetable spring roll from her “fish and chips” which really brought some flavour. (Since my visit it seems like Sketch have updated their steak dish, which I must admit sounds infinitely more interesting). The potato side dish was also equally disappointing, neither crispy nor indulgent.
Having tried parts of other mains I’m not sure if I would have been delighted with those offerings either. I’d much rather have a fried fish at the local chippy than the battered concoction at Sketch, which really reminded me of the Young’s breaded cod you find at Tesco.
Lets call it the popcorn chicken dish (since it contains popcorn and chicken among other ingredients). This dish really summed up the restaurant for me, they try to be different but the result is rather underwhelming.
The steamed vegetables were really just that, I feel robbed because there was no thought put into them whatsoever. The gratin dauphinoise fared better but I was disappointed that the centre was not gooey and cheesy as I’d imagined.
To finish off a night of pink debauchery, I chose the Sketch Chocolat, it coming highly recommended from our friendly waiter. The crunchy papery sheath on top really provided an interesting layer of textures to the rich and indulgent guanaja ganache. Whilst I’m not a fan of strong, sour pick-up notes the blackcurrant coulis did help balance the sweetness of the dish. I don’t know why this restaurant urges me to use similies but the desert reminded me of a chocolate bar, like a kinder bueno! My favourite desert was actually the Success, the combination of praline mousseline and hazelnut dacquoise did really satisfy my need for recognisable and proven flavour combinations.
On the whole I found service to be slightly erratic, at times friendly, personable and charming whilst others muted and uninterested, I guess it depends who was serving you. The meal itself came up to about £65/person. I feel Sketch’s food really doesn’t deliver at that price point, the surroundings, however, are interesting and will provide a talking point (such as the randomness of the bathroom).
…but to be honest for a restaurant that perpetuates style over substance I really thought the presentation of dishes were at times below expectation.
Overall Sketch is a place to go and see and be seen, the food on the other hand is acceptable but equally forgettable, the desserts being much more successful.
Address: 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG
Telephone: 0207 659 4500
Mind The Gap:
Mon – Sun: 12.30pm – 4pm
Mon – Sat: 6.30pm – 2am
Sun: 6pm – midnight
Sketch is split into four different sections/restaurants; The Parlour, The Glade, The Gallery and lastly their crowning jewel The Lecture Room & Library, a two Michelin star restaurant.
Panda ate, shot and left.