An uber-cool fairyland of intrigue, sketch Glade exudes an ethereal vibe, conveying the unashamed eclecticism that typically runs throughout sketch. Think Alice in Wonderland meets The Enchanted Wood. We fancied an afternoon tea with a difference and sketch was top of the agenda. Stepping into the magical space, the shady forest-like depths are punctuated with sparky laser-lights prancing across the woodland walls, and we find The Glade is abuzz with gossiping groups of afternoon tea-goers. Despite this, there’s still an air of tranquillity, with the area swathed in plumes of teal, deep turquoise and chartreuse shades. Retro wicker chairs scatter the room, offering a funky vintage feel.
After a classy flute of Pommery Brut Royal champagne is placed on our table, a few minutes pass before the sketch afternoon tea arrives in glorious technicolour. An eccentric cakestand is set down, quirkily built from two white china teacups. With French Masterchef Pierre Gagnaire at the helm of sketch, his innovative streak of culinary genius clearly permeates throughout, and we are blown away by the creative concoctions on display.
We paused to admire the stunning array of afternoon tea goodies for just a couple of minutes, before diving in to the lowest tier of sandwiches. Forget about your bog standard ham and cheese sandwiches. Here, you’ll find a sophisticated yet quirky selection of finger sandwiches. The smoked salmon layered sandwich is topped with salmon caviar, while the quintessentially English egg mayonnaise sandwich is glammed up with a sweetie-like quail’s egg and indulgent caviar. There’s even a delicate yellow ribbon-bound package concealing the gift of a Dijon mustard mini ham baguette. An unusual touch for afternoon tea, bite size little squares of goat’s cheese and basil mousse stand out in a glorious shade of tangerine.
Moving up to the middle tier, the miniature indigo-blue éclair pâte a choux with blueberry cream and bold blueberry icing almost looks too pretty to eat. Homemade marsmallows are a quirky little touch, in vibrant shades of lemon, violet and rose, while the bold sunshine-yellow yuzu macadamia tartlet adds a zingy fusion touch to the selection. Our overall favourite had to be the homemade salted caramels, adorned with decadent slivers of gold leaf and dark chocolate casing. They were absolutely incredible, and must be tried. The hot sultana scones were enveloped in a white cotton cloth, accompanied by a pretty pansy-clad pot of clotted cream, zesty citrus marmalade and fresh raspberry jam. The scones were good but could never compare to the wow factor from the dazzling cake stand of delight. From the exquisite jing tea selection, I chose a delicate blend, the Taiwan Oriental Beauty. It was very mild and something a little heavier from the tea options might match the magnificent afternoon tea extravaganza better.
A true pièce de résistance, the ‘royal rose’ is a powder-pink rose macaroon topped with a velvety red rose petal, dappled with ‘dew drops’ and exquisite gold leaf, and accompanied by a light champagne jelly and raspberry compote. We’d worked our way through most of the stand and were definitely too sated at this point to appreciate any other sweet creations. No matter, as the rest of our sweet treats were whisked away, bundled up proficiently and presented to us in a trendy sketch Glade pink doggy bag!
We both agreed that we would surely never experience another afternoon tea like it. A traditional afternoon tea would pale into insignificance when compared to the bold flavours and rainbow hues of purple, yellow, pink and orange typifying the iconic sketch afternoon tea. An unforgettable afternoon in the depths of sketch Glade is a must for all afternoon tea lovers. You’ll experience magnificent attention to detail and an innovative touch beyond compare.
9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG
Online booking available here