Last weekend involved one of those perfect days out with all your family around you enjoying the best that London has to offer.
For my mum’s 60th she wanted to enjoy a day out in town with all her children and wives/husbands but she wasn’t quite sure what the day should involve.
This is where I stepped in and tried to put together a day that might deliver on culinary delights but also give those non-Londoners a chance to see a bit of town.
There are 10 of us in our immediate family but 9 on the day as we were missing my sister’s boyfriend Dan who unfortunately had to stay out in Hong Kong because of work.
You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find a nice place for brunch that has a table for 9. The Wolsey, The Delaunay and Claridges, to name but a few, just couldn’t accommodate us, so as luck would have it, we ended up at The Soho Hotel.
I say luck, because ‘wow’ was it lovely! It had everything I was hoping for. A quirky interior of bright vibrant furnishings, amazing urban lightshades and vintage looking lights hanging from the ceiling, with the most spectacular bar that I’d love to prop up one evening drinking fabulous cocktails!
Everywhere you looked around the room you wanted to point out what you had spotted to your neighbour. Even just wandering round the lobby you would spot amazing flowers, fantastic pieces of art and even a wonderful afternoon tea made of felt.
We were greeted by friendly staff with big smiles and shown to our table where we ordered various juices, mine being a ginger and apple juice. It was delicious. Enough zing of the ginger to give it a kick, but it was mixed perfectly with the apple juice for it be really refreshing.
There were a variety of breakfasts ordered including the full English
and my sister in law went for some porridge with a portion of cinnamon French toast on the side.
The most popular choice by far though was the High Breakfast.
Think of a cross between a tasting menu and an afternoon tea and you’ll arrive at the High Breakfast.
It came on a wonderful china cake stand and included:
Spinach and goat’s cheese croissant
Mini eggs Benedict
Mini eggs Royale
Streaky bacon finger sandwich on buttered white bread
Brown toast fingers with smoked salmon and black pepper
Pain au chocolat with banana and maple syrup
Mini seasonal fruit bowl
Mini Crunch pot
Mini granola bar
All for £21!
I only had positive comments about each mouthful. Each in turn was as divine as the last, and by the end of it I was more than full and ready to take on London on the Duck Tour.
With a few hours break on a vehicle that can take on both London traffic as well as the Thames and a brain overloaded on facts that I’ll probably never remember, we diverted off the hustle and bustle of Regent Street and entered the totally unique restaurant that is Sketch.
Sketch is one of those places that is incredibly hard to describe because as you wander from room to room the magical experience changes to something totally different from the last.
As you walk over the threshold of Sketch, you spot the hop scotch painted on the floor and I was immediately transported back to my Prep school days playing hop scotch for endless hours in the playground. The fun and playfulness of Sketch makes it mark and I’m looking forward to the next surprise.
We were taken through the Glade room, which is a magical fairytale room decorated with expansive green leafy trees in the midst of an autumn scene from a childhood book. Wicker furniture decorates the room and big cushions adorn the seats invitingly. It’s the kind of place with a cup of coffee and a good book, you’d probably not want to ever move from.
We were shown to our large marble table within the Gallery which is a vibrant gastro brasserie which makes you feel like you’ve just walked in to a modern art museum with the fantastic bright colours on all the walls and floors. Although, my brother thought it looked a bit like when you can’t quite decide what colour you want to paint your room and you therefore put stripes of lots of different colours on all the walls before you make your decision. Either way, it looked pretty funky to me!
There was a fantastic eclectic mix of furniture, crockery and cutlery, that led to endless murmurs from our table saying ‘oooo, I like that’ or ‘look at that, that’s amazing.’
If we were impressed by the dining rooms, then the toilets were a different level altogether. I’m not sure I’ve ever had any inclination to write about toilets but I’m not even sure where to start to describe these ones.
You walk in a totally stark white room and as you emerge from the top of the stairs you are confronted by an array of white space-like pods. You can see the looks from the women to each other, wondering what the next move was! The first brave soul decides to work out how to enter the pod and gives the door a pull and there inside is the toilet! Mirrors hung on the walls saying “Yes, you really do look that good”, it was my kind of place.
I wish I had taken a photo!
Back to the food….
We all ordered the champagne afternoon tea and waited with baited breath for it to arrive.
The afternoon tea is where Sketch really works its magic and they have created a menu which is just extraordinary.
To start you have an assortment of finger sandwiches including:
Smoked salmon and Jacob’s cream
Cucumber, ricotta and asparagus
Mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur – The table favourite!
Egg and mayonnaise, quail egg, caviar
Next up was a sultana scone served with clotted cream, bitter orange and strawberry jam.
I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten better scones and the jams were exquisite.
Then finally a selection of pastries including:
Old fashioned pistachio macaroon
Almond and berry tartlet
Strawberry cheesecake in a glass
Mousse Malabar marshmallows
And don’t forget about the tea (or coffee in my case) and a bubbly refreshing glass of champagne.
WOW! Is the only way to describe the dining magnificence of Sketch. It promises bold, imaginative and delicious food and that’s exactly what it delivers. I could tell you about each mouthful but I’d be here for hours and to be honest I’d never give it justice.
What I will instead say is book a table and experience the wonder that is Sketch for yourself. It really is something else.