Soul Escape: Sketch, London
A true London institution, Sketch is where all the most glamorous crowds congregate at night in the British capital. A stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, this hip restaurant underwent a total revamp in 2014 at the hands of India Mahdavi. Now decorated with marshmallow colored walls and pale pink velvet sofas, the place gives off a warm gilded glow; the perfect dinner spot after a long day of fashion shows.
What Time Out says about Skecth:
‘Why have less when you can have more?’ is the attitude at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s wonderfully OTT gastronomic playground for well-heeled scenesters. Now a decade old, the Gallery (the more casual of Sketch’s two main dining offerings) had a revamp in early 2012, with input from Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. Since then artist David Shrigley, another Turner Prize winner, has put his own stamp on the restaurant space. Shrigley’s work is everywhere. The walls are adorned almost edge to edge with Shrigley’s strange, funny and often satirical childlike drawings. You can season your food with Shrigley designed shakers including ‘dirt’ (pepper), ‘dust’ (salt) or ‘nothing’ (true to its label, it contains nothing).
Gagnaire has overhauled the menu, but has kept the trademark global vibe, drawing on influences from Japan, Italy, Spain and Britain – all underpinned by French cuisine. Modern classics, such as the 63ºC egg, conceived by French chemist Hervé This, are a strong suit, but Asian-inspired dishes don’t always hit such culinary high notes. There’s a proper sense of creativity to the menu, from a sea bass paillard with artichokes and seaweed to the playful ‘big mac’ dessert – a lemongrass macaroon on sweet wine jelly with grapefruit marmalade.
It isn’t cheap, but if you scour the menu, you’ll find items less taxing to the wallet. The wine list is imaginatively chosen, and service is sweet and switched-on. Ten years on, this is still a place with wow factor.
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