Growing up in America, I knew very little about the British tradition surrounding afternoon tea. During a stay in London this month, I wanted to experience it firsthand so we set up a booking in the Sketch London tea room.
If you’re familiar with Sketch, it’s safe to assume that this wasn’t any ordinary tea room, though. Most of the surfaces were coated in soft, milky pink hues and it would be easy to imagine the ghost of Elizabeth Taylor lounging here if it weren’t for the oodles of hilarious David Shrigley art covering the walls.
Every room within the confines of Sketch are a unique experience in themselves and this area was no different. Waitresses in themed dresses brought over our menus which were filled with dozens of tea varieties. I chose vanilla which was rich, smooth but not too sweet. The china all featured David’s handwritten declarations of forget about it, ghosts and it’s not ok.
With tea service, multi-tiered trays are delivered full of mini pastries and sandwiches. Cakes, homemade strawberry marshmallows, fruit tarts, and caviar and quail egg sandwiches were all in the mix. Following the pastries, the traditional staples of fresh baked scones, clotted cream and jam arrived.
It’s safe to say that you won’t be able to finish everything. Sketch happily packed up the remainder of our tea service and we walked away with two massive pink bags of treats for later.
Though, that wasn’t the end of our adventure. The crowning moment of the Sketch experience resides at the top of a white spiral staircase with a bathroom area full of jumbo eggs. Inside each, you’ll find a toilet and piped-in music. As you head over to wash your hands, there’s a funhouse mirror distorting everything around you and a rainbow-paneled ceiling.
Sketch manages to put a fresh spin on the afternoon tea tradition and make it super fun — it’s worth experiencing at least once. And two weeks later, I’m still craving their delicious scones. 😉