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Sketch

You just can’t visit London without having afternoon tea. The Queen won’t allow it. So one afternoon the Queen and I (ok… just me…) headed to Sketch in Mayfair for its quirky, unique afternoon tea experience.

Notice the dog?

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Sketch is quite large, and has 5 different restaurants and bars within it. Each is designed by different artists, so you feel like you’ve been transported right into a painting.

My favorite bar was the Glade, an enchanted fairy-tale forest created by Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The Parlour restaurant and bar is also eccentrically decorated, and has an avant-garde vibe that is part Louis XV and part modern flea market.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea is served in the Gallery, which was designed by celebrated British artist David Shrigley and (apparently uncelebrated) French artist India Mahdavi. This room changes decor every two years, so you’ll never be bored no matter how many times you visit.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The vibe is part bourgeois, part 1970s Pepto-Bismol. Yet somehow, despite its garishness, the Gallery still manages to feel classy.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The walls are lined with David Shrigley’s original drawings, making the restaurant the largest display of his original drawings ever!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The hostesses are dressed in uniforms to match the decor.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

If the atmosphere was any indication, it was certainly going to be a unique afternoon tea!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The tableware was also designed by David Shrigley, and is quite witty.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The finger sandwiches and desserts arrived on a beautiful tower, and I couldn’t wait to dig in!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The sandwiches are as expected, with one surprising twist: one of them is a grilled cheese! I have never seen grilled cheese at an afternoon tea, and it made me so happy! All afternoon teas should serve it!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

My other favorite sandwiches were the chicken salad with Indian flavors:

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

This gorgeous cucumber sandwich:

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

And this delicious egg salad sandwich topped with caviar:

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The desserts are divine, especially this pistachio profiterole:

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

A steaming scone followed shortly thereafter, and tasted heavenly when layered with clotted cream and jam.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

As if that wasn’t enough food, I then had the option of selecting a treat from the dessert cart.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The food is incredible, and you can absolutely tell that it comes from Michelin-star awarded Master-Chef Pierre Gagnaire.

But with all the eccentricities of Sketch, the coolest part may in fact be the bathrooms. You walk up to what looks like a UFO, and then follow the stairs either left (blue = boys) or right (pink = girls). There’s no other men/women designation besides the colors, so make sure you pay attention (or, like my coworker, your visit will result in a hilarious story)!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

At the top of the stairs, there are a series of freestanding, egg-shaped pods with toilets inside them.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

You then pick one and go in, and feel a bit like you’re inside an alien cocoon. As if the experience isn’t weird enough, radios are pumping music into the pods, so it’s silent outside, but once inside the pod you’re treated to entertainment.

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

My pod was playing a recording of the moon landing, so I definitely felt like I was in space!

Afternoon tea at Sketch - London England dining and travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Now can you see why Sketch is known as one of the most unique dining spots in London?!

To find out more information, and make a reservation (which I strongly recommend as Sketch books up quickly), click here.

And who said less is more?

~A

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