Afternoon Tea At sketch: London's Most Instagrammable Restaurant
I've always been someone who is too shy to eat at a restaurant alone. If I can, I'll grab something quick from a McDonalds and eat alone at one of their tables as quickly as possible before running on the next thing. It's just that fear of people hardcore judging you for being a solo diner and it's very scary. I've missed out on a lot of potentially great food as a solo traveler because of this fear. But recently I decided that I wasn't going to let this fear stop me from experiencing a place that I've been wanting to go to ever since I saw a beautifully pink photo on a London-themed Instagram account.
sketch is a multi-roomed eatery in Mayfair, right off of Regent Street. If you were to walk past the facade, you would never suspect what's inside. From the front, it just looks like another lovely white building in the shopping district. But upon entering, you understand why this place has Instagrammers, bloggers, and photographers dying to go here for unique content. At the moment, the restaurant is decked out for the Chelsea Flower Show, a yearly event that takes place the second half of May in London. When I entered the building, I was surrounded by gorgeous florals and mood lighting that instantly made me stop and shoot some photos. I was nervous about my reservation for one, as I worried the hostess would judge me, but as I entered The Gallery (the name of their main afternoon tea room), I was thrown into a pink pod of absolute glee and I forgot all worries of being a lone tea drinker. This was the absolute definition of "Pink AF." The millennial pink trend definitely has stock in this place, because the entire decor, from the chairs to the walls are the most lovely shade of pink. My lunch at Pietro Nolita in New York City has nothing on this place. At a price tag of £58 for afternoon tea, this was definitely one of the most "treat yo self" moments I've ever had in my life. I was worried this monetary amount wouldn't be worth it, but I couldn't have been more wrong. After I was seated, a man came over to explain the order of events for this tea time. I'd be able to choose any tea I want and get unlimited refills the entirety of my time there. A waitress came over and gave me some recommendations for what she thought I might like. I started with a black tea since I am not one to love fruity or spicy blends. When it arrived, I poured some milk in and two sugar cubes and delighted in how wonderful it was to be sitting in this room in London, drinking a fine brew amongst so much pink.
I was served a fancy little egg on a plate with a very thin slice of toast. It felt almost too fancy to eat. Soon after, a man in a pink suit aptly called "The Caviar Man" came over to my table with some caviar and asked if I'd like to try it. Since I am a peasant, obviously I've never tried it, so he told me to let it sit in my mouth for a moment before swallowing and gave me a small spoon of it to try. To be honest, it wasn't anything special and I wasn't sure why rich people rave about it so much, but to each their own and I'm happy I got to try it. Next came a plate full of tiny sandwiches and desserts and the promise that I could get refills on these if I wished. I ended up not even being able to finish half of them and wished I had maybe only taken a bite of each so I could have tried them all before getting full. And while I was full from that dish, I was brought a scone with butter and jam while a string triplet started to play.
At this point, I was two pots of tea in and needing to use the toilet, and this was what I was really excited about. The bathroom in sketch is just as exciting as the pink room. The toilets are in pods that play music while you're inside. The ceiling is like a modern stained glass window. It feels all a bit futuristic when you're in there. Since they were prepping for the Chelsea Flower Show, there was a giant moss rabbit inside and faux bees hanging from the ceiling. I had to go twice just so I could take it all in. And the meal wasn't even over at that point. There was still the choice of a sponge or banana cake at the end, so I tried to eat what I could before needing to finish the meal.
Normally I rush through meals, but I spend 2 hours there in total and it was nice to not feel anxious about needing to get up and go on to the next thing. When the bill came, there was, unfortunately, an added tax, so it ended up being almost £70, but for a birthday present to myself, I think it was quite nice. While I was there, The Glade room was closed as it was being remodeled for the flower show, so I'd love to go back and see it someday when it's not under construction. I really loved the vibe of the place and it definitely was a fancy moment that I was happy I got to experience for myself, even if I was alone. I'm just extemely happy I got some great photographs and Instagram posts, and tried some lovely gourmet afternoon tea bites that I wouldn't probably have had otherwise if not for a special moment. It's on the pricey side, but definitely worth checking out. Make your reservation well in advance though, and the earlier in the morning you go, the less crowded it will be, which means less people in your shots.