From the minute that I heard about Sketch – many moons ago, now – I wanted to go there. Not going to lie, lads: I hadn’t even cast an eye over the menu, or done any research on the vibe of the place – what suckered me in was the allure of the pink room, and the super-jazzy egg-pod toilets, and the rave reviews of bloggers that took their Olympus Pens into the bathroom and took selfies with the multi-coloured ceiling lights. It was one of those places that you want to go because you imagine it’ll really transform your Instagram feed. It’ll show that you go to cool places, and you’re hip, and (okay, I’m actually an old person RN) with it.
So, when I bumbled down to London last weekend for my birthday, I decided that breakfast at Sketch was AN ABSOLUTE PRIORITY. Duh.
Sketch is nestled in the part of London that, if I ever moved there, I’d want to live: Mayfair. (Obviously, I’ve won the lottery at this point. Or sold a kidney on the black market. A girl can dream.) It’s on a beautiful street between chocolate-box houses and a whole host of delicious designer stores, and suddenly I feel all like I’M A LADY WHO BRUNCHES and decide that I must invest the stock market immediately. My boyfriend – who accompanied me on this breakfast date – already had a glazed-over look in his eye as I took fifty photos of a cute little terraced house next door. (Spoiler alert: this was the first of a looooOOOong list of glazed-over looks from the boyf.)
You walk into Sketch, and it’s like you’ve gone blind. Listen, kids: IT’S BLOODY DARK in there. I can barely see where I’m going. Where do I sign up for a guide-dog? A man in a suit takes us to our table in the Parlour. This isn’t the pink room: what’s happening? Oh, yeah: Sketch has a variety of rooms, all serving different things. The Gallery is the bubblegum-coloured space which serves afternoon tea, and the Parlour is a kitsch, Louis XIV style lounge where you can eat as much avo-on-rye as you fancy. There’s the Glade, too, which is all leafy and looks like the Amazon rainforest exploded on the wallpaper. As it’s Easter weekend, afternoon tea in the Gallery costs the same as a month’s rent on a Mayfair property, so we opt for a la carte brunch in the Parlour instead. Boo.
My boyfriend can’t get into his seat, because he is pushing 6″ and his velvet-backed armchair is practically scraping the floor. Eventually, he’s in, accepting that he won’t be moving for the entirety of our meal. He can’t see anything and tells me this repeatedly: to be fair, it’s ridiculously dark. We’re talking Abercrombie & Fitch levels of dark.
Because I’m a hobbit, I don’t mind the low chairs, and the room is cute. The Parlour is all heavy drapes and red crushed velvet, and feels decidedly French and fancy; however, at 11am in the morning with the sunlight streaming in, it does look a little bit…faded? Scruffy? I’m not sure. Regardless, it’s jazzier than a Pret A Manger. The menu arrives, and it’s definitely not as extensive as I was hoping – I’m one of those people who loves big menus, and I’ll order loads at brunch, but at Sketch there’s one A4 side to choose from. The majority of this is eggs. The boyfriend doesn’t like eggs. We have a problem.
We order coffee and I’m SO DISAPPOINTED it doesn’t come with fancy foam art, but I spend fifteen minutes Instagramming it anyway; I order scrambled eggs with chorizo and ‘red pepper fondue’, and he goes for pancakes with grapefruit jam and grenadine cream. Because I’m feeling reckless, I order toast, and I’m asked how many slices I’d like which massively stresses me out. JUST BRING ME THE LOAF, OKAY? My eggs come and they are actually delicious, but I have a bugbear with the chorizo (two pieces used as decoration: where the rest at?) and the ‘red pepper fondue’ (a chunky relish, which is not what I was expecting.) Who cares though, because it’s all super tasty and moreish. -genuinely would murder those eggs right now, NGL. His pancakes looked a bit limp – a pale imitation of a stack with a dollop of jam on the side – but he reassures me they’re good. He still can’t see.
Due to some sort of black magic, Sketch know it’s my birthday (WIZARDS), and present me with a cake and a candle before we pay the bill. OMG, the cake: it was some sort of praline-chocolate-cream thing which I want to eat all day every day. If you go, get a cake, and thank me later.
Breakfast in the Parlour was actually not horrendously expensive: around £45 for two main plates, four coffees, and a side of toast. Given a Starbucks coffee’n’muffin combo will set you back a tenner, this doesn’t stress me out too much…
After breakfast, it was time for THE MAIN EVENT: the egg toilets. We eventually found them, after trekking through the Glade and Gallery (waaaaah), and dithered around the entrance for about ten minutes not knowing if they were unisex. (I still don’t know.) Opening the door, it’s like OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THE LIGHTS ARE BLINDING, because this is the best-lit part of the whole place; seriously good selfie-lighting in here, guys. The toilets are actually amazing on first glance – huge eggs with doors, with nests on the top and gorgeous coloured windows – but when you look closer, you realise it’s actually a portaloo. And, whilst you’re weeing, people are taking photos outside the door. Like, leaning against the egg, so it moves. And don’t even try to get to the sink – there’s basically a queue of people waiting to take a mirror-selfie (#guilty), so try and cut-in if you actually want to use the taps.
So, I finally got to go to Sketch. Would I recommend to a friend? Yes. The food is delish – get the scrambled eggs, they’re divine. Toilets are weird, but look aces on an Insta theme. It’s dark: don’t wear sunnies indoors, or you’ll be screwed. Not feeling the spenny afternoon tea in the pink room? Go to the Parlour (reasonably priced), and take a photo of the Gallery enroute to the bathroom. No-one will ever know.
Word of advice? Don’t take someone who doesn’t ‘get’ the allure – my boyfriend didn’t, and kept telling me he didn’t understand all the fuss. (Shut up, Mr I’ve-Only-Got-54-Instagram-Followers. No-one cares what you think.)