Sketch, Mayfair

The world is a bit shit at the moment. The leader of the free world is an orange-faced buffoon, Brexit is going so badly that Africa will soon be sending us aid, and Moseley still doesn’t have a Waitrose. Worst of all, none of it matters anyway because we’re all going to get nuked by North Korea.

So two hours of afternoon-tea-shaped escapism, taken in the Wes Anderson-esque Gallery at Sketch, is well deserved. For a mere *cough* £72 plus service you can be whisked away to a magical millennial-pink land where the only dilemma you’ll face is which tea will best complement your champers. Everything is perfect here, your every wish answered; it’s an alternative reality for those with a large disposable income.

Picture courtesy of Sketch photo gallery

If I’m honest, I was expecting style over substance; delicate instagram-worthy bites with flavour playing second fiddle. Happily, I was wrong. It was without doubt the loveliest afternoon tea I’ve ever had, and packed with skilled work. Bravo, Sketch.

Champagne and tea sorted (essentials first, people), we are presented with our first course. Egg and soldiers by name, but not quite by nature. A comté cheese mornay takes the place of the white in an shell-shaped eggcup, cradling a dainty confit quail yolk. To accompany it come comté soldiers and a mother of pearl spoon of caviar; we are in Mayfair, darling. It’s cheesy and rich and lovely, although I still don’t see what all the bloody fuss is about caviar.

Cake stands arrive next, groaning with an array of finger sized sandwiches on the bottom and topped with two layers of petits gateaux. I won’t list them all for fear of sending you to sleep, but I must tell you that the coronation chicken sandwich is outstanding. We rave about it to the extent that we are brought another full plate. The petits gateaux are truly fantastic, in particular a delicate choux finished with redcurrant cream and white chocolate, and a deliciously rich chocolate and caramel gauteaux. This is a team who know their pastry.

The food keeps coming. Plump scones appear, accompanied by clotted cream and a choice of fig or strawberry jam. They are quite possibly the nicest scones I’ve ever eaten. Sorry Mum – yours are second, I promise. We’ve reached the stage where clothes are crying out to be loosened, but still one more round is to come. A slab of pistachio and cherry cake, and one of Victoria sponge. Both are excellent, yet both get abandoned in fear of a Mr Creosote moment.

The bill is, of course, eye watering – not least because I am treating my sister – but one well worth paying for a one-off blissful escape from reality. Until my credit card statement comes, that is.

Find Sketch at 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG.

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