Dreams do come true. Andrea surprised me and took me to a restaurant that I have wanted to go to since I was about 15. Sketch. Art gallery come restaurant come bar. You enter through heavy black felt curtains and greeted by a hopscotch on the floor. The standard in a restaurant like this! Welcomed by two girls in pink puffy dresses they were so polite and took our possessions into the cloakroom.
Because our table wasn't ready, we sat in the Gallery, a green room just off of the Parlour. Its walls collaged with green and brown papers to make a wonderful scenery of trees. It gave a very renaissance aesthetic. The 'chandelier' was at most to say part tree, branches sticking out showing off it's flamboyance. We sat down and ordered a juice and an espresso just while we waited and it wasn't long before we were then called to our table.
Walking into the Parlour was like walking into a pink 1920's Parisian parlour. Art deco. Feminine. Pink. All my favourite things in one room. The ceiling is high and resembles an old theatre (maybe it was) and the surrounding lights shone onto it. Andrea and I sat at table 1, which was part booth with a single bucket chair, however we both decided to sit on the booth. The pink velvet fabric was well matched with the rose gold/copper accessories. My heart was melting. After getting settled we were offered the tea menu, where we selected what tea we would like, Andrea went for a vanilla infusion and I chose a rose tea. The tea cups and china had humour, small sayings were written on them. The teacup was my favourite; forget about it. Tea tends to do that.
Shortly after we were graced with a 3 tier plate filled with sandwiches, patisseries & all things wonderful. This was the first course. I didn't know where to start, but the host offered that we started with the hot cheese toastie which was wrapped in parchment and a small yellow ribbon (it's the small things). We made our way through the selection of sandwiches; cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken, salmon and quails egg and caviar. All were scrumptious.
The second tier was pastries and cakes; pistachio, passion fruit tart and a chocolate pave. The last tier was a blackcurrant cheesecake and some form of coffee cake with a small gold chocolate coffee bean on the top. Oh also we also were given a small cup of marshmallows and lemon meringues. I didn't realise that you could have such fine detailing on sandwiches. The presentation was insane. I couldn't think of anything prettier.
After an hour or so, another pot of tea came round and the second course of scones was about to arrive. Currant of plain? Of course Andrea and I both chose currant. Just being in the parlour, I couldn't keep my eyes off anything. I was constantly looking at the drawings around the walls and being over come with pink details. I was feeling a little bit full at the point so decided to take home my scone which was presented in a beautiful pink Sketch bag. People were constantly coming and going. People dresses in beautiful dresses celebrating birthdays or girly days out or simply coming in in jeans and sweatshirts and enjoying the tea. It was really an occassion for everyone. I felt like we were the only original people still sitting in there as so many new people sat down. I didn't want to leave.
Lastly, we had another choice. To choose from a raspberry dome or a chocolate dome. Again, we both chose raspberry. It had a moose like texture with a raspberry centre. Soft and light yet full of flavour and also topped with a little piece of gold leaf.
Before we left, there was one thing that we both wanted to see as Sketch is famous for this. The toilets. The egg shaped pods with the multicoloured ceiling is probably the most photographed toilets in the world, but it had to be done. Entering the bathrooms, it is all white, clinical almost and two staircases, one pink light and the other blue. You walk around the egg shaped pods and when you enter space ship sounds echo throughout. It reminded me of something out of the film 'Alien'. You feel like you have to be quiet otherwise you wake all the alien eggs! I was again in awe, even after seeing it so many times online nothing beats the real deal.
The afternoon tea was incredible, I couldn't have asked for anything better and seeing as it was my first afternoon tea it's going to be hard to beat. As much as I wanted to stay in there forever, Andrea and I did have other plans afterwards, and the staff were very slow at dealing with us. I didn't mind at first but when we wanted to pay for the bill it took over 20 minutes to get it. When you are only booked in for a 2 hour slot you feel like you may have to rush, but because the staff were a little behind it meant that we got to stay a little bit longer. Silver linings and all that. But overall I would LOVE to go again and Andrea and I have already said that we want to try the breakfast menu in the Gallery. So thank you A, for a wonderful afternoon tea surprise.
Do you want a pink-parloured-afternoon-tea?