”Unconventional is risky but rewarding. Ordinary is safe but boring. Since we decided to pursue the unconventional path, the experiences are also unique, uncommon and worthwhile. Such was the afternoon tea on the Valentine’s Day at a venue which was so unconventional right in the heart of London. Such is the personality of this person which is not ordinary, so the treatment I received was special. Thank you is however not an unconventional word anymore to say to you Tanusree Ghosh” – said my beautographer about his experience of our Valentine’s Day afternoon tea date at the Sketch London– an unique restaurant which changes the design of its rooms (each of them different) everytime they feel like making some new collaborations with artists. The last time they revamped their decoration was in early 2012.
After seeing pictures of the room called “The Gallery” on the net, I thought that this is one of those places you imagine can only exist in the pages of Vogue. So I made up my mind- this is exactly where I would like to take him on a date- what better day I could choose than February 14th, being the first day of the Spring according to the Bengali Calendar (Yes! We choose to bring out the Bengali in us whenever it is convenient;)) and also celebrated as the day of Love all over the world- Valentine’s Day.
So, I made a reservation a couple months before, and whisked him away yesterday to share another unique experience together in life. The gallery which we walked through is decorated in pastel wallpaper, plenty to see, this room was what I would describe as a old style parlour, but we were having our afternoon tea in the pink room refined by a curious mind, a touch of humour… It’s a work of art, a striking backdrop… It’s David Shrigley‘s Gallery.
Turner prize nominated and Fourth Plinth commissioned, David Shrigley has transformed the Gallery at sketch as part of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants. Crisp and clean with a touch of his signature humour, Shrigley has understood the dining table of the Sketch Gallery as an obvious exhibition space, a platform for the presentation of new work by himself and Master Chef, Pierre Gagnaire.
A soft pleasant pink: almost powdery, and in fact Turkish Delight Pink furnishings designed by India Mahdavi with walls adorned almost edge to edge with black-and-white witty, funny, often satirical and some with a social message drawings and texts by Shrigley (I covet Photography Is Difficult and Don’t Touch It), for you to ponder over while sipping the afternoon cup of tea. Basically you don’t know if you are in a museum or a restaurant. This pink and cosy atmosphere, these glamorous chairs and sofas looks like pastries and marshmallows!
With an Afternoon Tea to catch your eye…. Sketch has worked its magic, creating a menu which is sure to delight, with caviar and quail egg, the sandwiches that you’ll want to bite and go to food-heaven. There are pastries too, macaroons to see you through, an assortment of cakes that are in-house baked specially for its customers.
On arrival, the waitress explained everything as to how the tea would go! I chose from their selections of herbal infusions- whole rose buds tea to start with and he tried the traditional black tea- Chai. The waitress explained what was in each sandwich, the quail egg one was lovely as was them all, they were exquisitely prepared. The small cakes were also good but I have to say I preferred the savoury eats best. We had a choice of scones, fruit or plain. They were served after the sandwiches as they were kept hot wrapped in a white cloth. We were informed that we could have as much as we wanted as far as the food was concerned and we did have more sandwiches and macarons. It was delicious, pretty enough that you almost don’t want to touch but to keep looking at and we got lots to eat; sweets, finger sandwiches, scones … And the most tempting selection of teas.
Sketch is also very famous for its futuristic toilets. The individual egg-shaped white toilet cacoons that are attractions all by themselves, all beyond psychedelic dreams. Unapologetically, I headed to the toilet with my camera in hand and spend about 15 minutes clicking away, so were other ladies!
Even the restaurant staff uniforms were very artful: designed by Richard Nicoll, ladies were wearing grey shirt dress and men in grey onesies looked somehow elegant and utilitarian that reference a diner look but in a very modern and sophisticated way.
Majority women would choose to wear red or black or a combination of both on Valentine’s Day, I opted for this soft pink maxi dress with embellished flutter sleeves to match the tea room at the Sketch and its cosy atmosphere. It makes the whole experience even more dreamy and romantic. Keeping the ‘love’ factor noticeable, I styled this chiffon dress with a pearl heart shaped clutch namely Lovespell Minaudiere by trend-led Indian accessories’ designer Tarini Nirula. A champagne colored strappy heels is worn to match the embellished neck, back and sleeves. The fusionista in me brought an element of ethnic style with this tribal fresh blossomed gold flower ring with two tone finish.
I have styled my beautographer in this solid-coloured travel line suit (regular fit) by BOSS. The classic 2-button jacket paired with a crispy white shirt and a pair of cats-eye stone cufflinks were the perfect choice for the occassion and the mood. I have always liked the look of brown shoes against grey or dusty blue pants. So, to avoid this look looking like off-I-go-to-work, I have chosen a pair of mocha brown shoes for him and added a pop of color (of passion) with a crimson red satin pocket square folded in the classic way.
This is how we celebrated Valentine’s Day this year and spent an afternoon uniquely at the Pierre Gagnaire’s wonderfully OTT gastronomic playground- Sketch Gallery, a place with a real wow factor!
What Were We Wearing?
On Tanusree: ASOS PETITE Lattice Embellished Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress/ Amrapali jewels Two-tone Flower Ring/ Dune Champagne Lurex Strappy Heeled Sandal from Debenhams / Earring from House of Fraser/ Tarini Nirula Lovespell Pearl Heart Minaudiere Clutch from Pernia’s Pop-up Shop