She won’t admit it, but my Mum is one of those people who’s really hard to buy for. Although she likes the little things in life, I’d call her a lady of class. She often enjoys the finer things and has quite a particular taste when it comes to gifts. This year, I thought I’d save myself the worry of getting it wrong, so pitched the idea to my brother about taking her for Afternoon Tea. Sometimes, an experience is much more valuable. She’s not really a Spa Day kind of lady, and we’ve done a lot of the restaurants in Bournemouth already, so it was a no brainer to take her two hours on the train to London for a nice afternoon out. She’s seen and heard of sketch before, but we’ve never had the chance to get it organised. Three weeks prior, reservations opened up and I was able to book into the Gallery of sketch in Mayfair.
Celebrated British artist, David Shrigley, has transformed the Gallery at sketch as part of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants. Open for afternoon tea and dinner the project follows the huge success of artist Martin Creed’s restaurant commission at sketch in 2012. 239 new works line the restaurant’s walls, forming the largest group of original drawings David Shrigley has ever exhibited. It was so fun and charismatic, it really suited the venue.
One of things that appealed to me the most about The Gallery is all the pink. The seats look like Sponge Fingers, so cute! It was honestly even more dreamy in person, so girly and gorgeous.
Starting from £58pp, it’s certainly a special occasion Afternoon Tea but as we were there, we decided to upgrade slightly for £64pp to the Alcohol Free Bubbly package, including a Rosé Sparking Grape Juice. It was absolutely delicious, sweet and fruity and not too fizzy. I’d love to buy a bottle of whatever it was!
The service was really welcoming, everyone is dressed to the theme of the Gallery, with plenty of staff and bartenders. However, I personally found the service to be a little slow to begin with. Especially as we booked at 12.30pm slot, only half the room was full. Although we choose the non-alcoholic version, we didn’t get the caviar or little egg soldiers as advertised in the booklet. I’m still unsure if you only get this with the Champagne, or if they completely forgot to give it to us, but neither Mum nor I were particularly bothered (we’d rather have more cake). Either way, it isn’t very clear and when I asked, I sometimes didn’t understand our waiters accent.
We were presented with the menu including a huge selection of teas. We both went for an English Breakfast, one our waiter recommended that was super strong which I sadly didn’t catch the name of. The food was absolutely delicious. Despite being pricey, you can actually order more of your favourites, so be sure to enjoy as much as you like!
My personal favourites included the Strawberry Tart, Chocolate and Caramel Gateau and Blueberry and Vanilla Choux. I loved having scones too, and our tea was poured and topped up regularly for us. By the time we were presented with the final cakes from ‘The Trolley’, we couldn’t finish them! We were absolutely stuffed. Throughout our meal, there was live jazz being played every half an hour, a real treat which created a beautiful atmosphere. Here’s the full menu: