Sketch is not somewhere that would usually be on my radar. I’ve probably written before about my fear of places full of the thin and beautiful – mostly because I assume I’ll be asked to leave in order to fit in another four thin and beautiful people – and Sketch, with all its achingly Instagrammable spaces, and well-dressed clientele seems exactly the kind of venue to bring out that paranoia.
Somewhat inevitably, the truth is that for all its achingly Instagrammable flourishes – and those famously bizarre isolation pod-style toilets – Sketch is still just a collection of restaurant spaces that, basically, do a thoroughly decent job and lunch at The Glade was really quite enjoyable.
As the name suggests, there’s a distinct woodland feel to the Glade, from the grass-like, deep pile carpet to the tree-themed decoration. On my visit, the curtains were being held open by two fluffy pouffes, one blue, one green, and looking like the souvenirs of Donald Trump’s sons had been given a hunting permit for Sesame Street.
At lunch, a set menu delivers crowd pleasing fare – with the occasional twist – for a fairly respectable £32 for two courses. You can eat cheaper around the area but then you wouldn’t get to see two dead muppets as furniture so, you know, tomato / tomahto. Plus my companion – who’s far more glamorous and gainfully employed than me – clearly appreciated Sketch far more than the sort of places I’d usually duck into for a cheap lunch.
Cod croquette with endive salad isn’t exactly revolutionary but here was executed well enough. My vegetable poke bowl, while a little underspiced for my (admittedly extreme) tastes, was a generous and virtuous plate of food.
Duck breast with fig jam and grilled baby carrots is one of those aforementioned twists, a pleasingly sticky, sweet dish of well-cooked, just-pink-enough duck and rich fruit. My gnocchi, green velouté and roasted pine nuts was a simple, warming, buttery hug of a dish. There’s better pasta in London, to be sure, but as comfort eating goes, this was more than adequate. Also, in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not going vegetarian. I’ve been writing a book for a steak restaurant and frequently feel the need to steer away from meat.
Desserts are a mix of classic – good ice cream, a pistachio parfait – and, with the “Dried prunes, Pu-erh tea, orange salad, pear sorbet”, the decidedly left-of-centre. Obviously, we had to pick the latter, and it was proof that, somewhere in that kitchen, there’s a person with a fine grasp of ingredients and flavours.
So, yes, while it’s probably not somewhere I’ll be rushing back to, Sketch proved a comfortable and comforting experience, fed me decently and went some way to easing my general paranoia.
Sketch – The Glade
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
Tel: 020 7659 4500