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109202 1

Sketch (Lecture Room & Library)

AA Wine Award (England) 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

Read more about AA ratings and awards

Highly conceptualised food from a modern master

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Service charge
Credit cards accepted

When Sketch opened its doors in the last decade, it was with the intention of making a valiant attempt to shift our expectations of what a restaurant ought to do. You were processed at the entrance as though you were arriving at a club for the glitterati, and once admitted, found yourself ascending through a succession of dramatically designed spaces that, other than for the presence of laid-up tables, were doing their best not to look like somewhere you might buy a meal at all. The principal dining space is, after all, still named a Lecture Room and Library, impressing on visitors the need for studiousness and patient attention, perhaps also a quiet reverence,that was the appropriate stance to take towards the highly conceptualised food that would emerge. If calm reflection was required of the diner, however, the designers had put themselves under no such obligation, and the interiors teem with obstreperous collisions of candy-pink, mustard and scarlet, at least in the windowless padded cell of the main dining room. The French modern master Pierre Gagnaire still devises all menus here, aiming to encompass a dizzyingly wide range of ingredients and techniques in a multiplicity of small plates, whose contents are to be consumed in strictly prescribed sequences. Reading the whole lengthy carte has the air of cramming for an essay. An opening course, Perfume of the Earth, will comprise foie gras and cranberry ravioli flash-smoked in a hay cocotte, an assemblage of pumpkin, pineapple, mango and coconut, pâte en croûte with mustard grains and beetroot and star-anise sorbet, snails à la bordelaise alongside a lettuce leaf stuffed with red onion, and a serving of bone marrow scattered with rye breadcrumbs and paired with puréed nettles. The risk, as Gagnaire well knows, is that the sheer complexity of the approach could result in crossed wires and blurred culinary vision, and yet the minutely detailed three-dimensionality of each element, and the ways the components work in juxtaposition with each other, produces an undeniable alchemy. Mains might introduce turbot and veal jus-braised endive to each other, or layer Goosnargh duck with all the spices and fruity sweetness it can handle, down to blackcurranted red cabbage and minty courgettes, and it all somehow works. The Grand Dessert brings on a parade of half-a-dozen dishes in two services, the standout being an intensely fragrant coriander lokum in star-anise syrup with soy milk and strawberries.

Opening hours

  • Closed: 19 August to 6 September, 23–30 December, 1 January and Bank holidays
  • Days closed: Sunday to Monday
  • Closed for lunch: Tuesday to Thursday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 1.45
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 10

Chef

  • Chef: Pierre Gagnaire, Johannes Nuding

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern European
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 3
  • Wines over £30: 864
  • Wines by the glass: 73

Price guide

  • Starter from 45
  • Main course from50
  • Tasting menu from120
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Steps for wheelchair: 32
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 50
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 24
  • Off-site parking available: NCP Soho, Cavendish Square

Additional information

  • Seats: 50
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 24

Getting here

Nearest train station

Oxford Circus, Green Park, Bond Street
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