Dinner at Sketch Gallery, London

It was Papa Bridges’ birthday a couple of weeks ago, but sadly we couldn’t all be together to celebrate. However, now that we’ve all be reunited once again, it gives us a reaaally good excuse to go out for a celebratory dinner! As always I was on dinner duty, so a few e-mails and viewings of different set menus later, I made a sweet little booking for a group of 10 at the Gallery in Sketch. It was drizzling but we were greeted by a lovely man with a very useful umbrella.

There’s no other way to describe Sketch apart from the fact that everything inside it is so cool.

When you shake your head at this light it says ‘love’. I don’t know why this is in a restaurant but I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t enjoy it a bit too much.

When you head downstairs, it’s like you’ve stepped into a wonderland forest. This is the Glade at sketch, where they serve their afternoon tea.

There was a lovely girly tea party going on at the time. I can’t think of a better place for it than here – It’s absolutely beautiful.

The pastries were just as gorgeous. I had to tear myself away from the raspberry and blueberry eclairs.

I also adore their napkins – They’ve printed their number on them as if someones cheekily given it to you!

Our table at the Gallery wasn’t ready yet so Grandma Bridges and the parents went and had a drink at Glade whilst the waiter told us that if we hadn’t been here before, we needed to check out the toilets. We were met by an all-white room and tucked away was The East Bar in Sketch which, like the rest of the restaurant, looked sick. I would definitely go back for a drink there.

After a quick peak, we walked up the bright white steps. And stopped for a quick picture.

I think I’ve died and gone to toilet heaven.

The toilets are individually egg-shaped cubicles that speak. Sketch has many highlights, but I think I’ve just found their main one. I was very excited.

Once we’d stopped running around the toilets like 5 year olds, we arrived back to find our table was ready. We encountered yet another amazing room.

I love how everything was mismatched – the seats, the tables, the lights, the drinking glasses.

Everything about this place was an upmarket version of quirky. Their bar menu was laid out like a newspaper.

Their shots looked like something I would have ordered in a flash at the bar, but maybe not the best idea with Mama and Papa Bridges right beside me…

The other half of us arrived shortly after.

The set menu (that I had been sent before by the restaurant and therefore had already thoroughly studied) was sat snugly by our cutlery.

Since I’d basically memorised the entire menu, I spent a little more time focusing on drinks. Bella and her friend ordered young and innocent Virgin Mojitos.

Hamish, not so young and innocent, had a normal Mojito.

Papa B got his usual, but went for a different recommended beer. He’s getting adventurous on his birthday.

The girlies couldn’t decide what drinks to get. The waitress recommended their top four cocktails, and thankfully we all wanted different ones, which just meant we got to try them all.

I went for Confessions, which was a delicious concoction of rum, cranberry, peach, pineapple, passionfruit syrup, elderflower and lime. I love a good rum cocktail, and after immaturely singing ‘Confession’ by Usher with Hannah as soon as the waitress suggested it, I really couldn’t not order it.

It was deliciously fruity, but a little strong compared to everyone else’s drink. The bartender was clearly trying to (successfully) get me tipsy.

Hannah instantly wanted the Let’s Talk About Passion, which was a yummy gin and passionfruit flavour fiesta.

Gee went for the Avocolado. It (obviously) really interestingly had avocado in it, which made me a little worried about how it would taste, but the avocado flavour wasn’t very strong. It was thick and creamy like a Piña Colada and actually so good.

Ming ordered the Kick the Ketel, which was a mix of lychee and cucumber with vodka. It was so sweet and the yummiest drink of the lot.

After she had enough of it, I may or may not have kicked back the rest. Only now I’m starting to realise why I got a little drunk. It probably didn’t help that I we ordered our compulsory bottle of red.

Which was poured into a beautiful decanter.

The starters arrived, which excited everyone (although no one as much as a tipsy, hungry Bianca). There were a couple of orders of the Gallery Salad with baby artichokes, strawberries, fennel with stilton, fresh herb bouquet and baby leaf salad. There was dressing smeared fashionably on the edge of the bowl.

I decided that tonight would be my cheat meal and therefore felt it was A-Okay for me to order the Foie Gras. What arrived was a beautifully decorated plate of fresh foie gras terrine voile de Sauternes, Paris mushroom salad and mangetout, brioche with Cremona fruit mustard. Apart from a couple of the edges of the toast being slightly burnt, everything was delicious.

However, it wasn’t as delicious as this winner – the Twice Baked Haddock Soufflé which came with crunchy white cabbage salad. It was basically a fish mousse, and as weird as that may sound to some people, it was absolutely incredible.

The risotto looked good too – It was traditional saffron risotto, pan-fried courgette and tomato with basil.

Whilst everyone chowed down, Hamish had sneakily ordered a Let’s Talk About Passion. All boys secretly love a good girly cocktail. There’s really no need to be ashamed.

Whilst waiting for our mains to arrive, we decided it was present time! Dad unwrapped all of his goodies that were clearly not wrapped by me for a very good reason.

He was showered with an array of presents like a new shirt, a book by a famous tennis player whilst he was growing up and really into tennis, a leather set of Perudo (our favourite family game).

He also got a couple of adorable cards from his little princesses.

Ming and I bought him a bad boy watch from Nike that tracks details of your run. He got so excited and now messages both of us his running stats every time he uses it.

At least after the presents were gone, the excitement was yet to end. The grilled Scottish salmon with dill, citron jelly and Dublin yogurt was the first to arrive, and looked delicious.

Mum was repping Asia and ordered the udon noodles cooked in citrus broth, tofu, lemongrass, pickled vegetables and coriander.

I ordered the organic gambas with satay, avocado, turnip, crunchy pig lard, green apple and fresh mint. Not only was it stunning, but I knew I’d made the right choice as it couldn’t have been any more delicious. It was cooked perfectly and the combination of flavours went deliciously together.

However, that didn’t stop me from drooling over the Lamb. The cannon of lamb came with roasted en crépine, Niçoise socca and swiss chard gratin.

Hannah was also repping her roots and chose the tandoori chicken supreme, aubergine cream with mild curry and coriander butter. It was like a very posh sort-of curry.

Our meals were accompanied by a range of sides of which weren’t stated on the set menu, but turned out to be steamed veg and mashed potatoes. It was a portion between two people, so five of each side arrived, which was way more than needed, but gave me a reason to gobble down a lot of vegetables in order not to waste them.

Unfortunately, this train of thought also applied to the mashed potato. And sadly, the mashed potato was so delicious that I couldn’t stop. I could have drank that thing through a straw.

I think out of all the meals in the set menu, dessert was by far the hardest to choose because everything looked so good. Luckily, each option was ordered by at least two people on the table, and people (not me) were starting to get full and got very generous with sharing, which I obviously took full advantage of. The Malabar consisted of lemon foam, bubble gum ice cream, panacotta, orange blossom and strawberry marshmallow. I didn’t go for it because I’m not a huge fan of bubble gum flavour, but I had a try and it was very yummy although slightly too sweet for me.

Napoleon was the most ordered dessert at the table, and I could totally see why. It was caramelised puff pastry, raspberry, Bourbon vanilla cream and raspberry compote. Now, there wasn’t a lot left at the table as this was so good, no one really offered to share, but the scraps of remains that I did manage to get hold of were so yummy that I could completely see why. I wouldn’t have even looked anyone in the eye whilst vacuuming this up.

The La Rochelle was a selection of three seasonal sorbets (which turned out to be raspberry, mango and lemon), burnt meringue, fresh fruits and mixed marshmallow. Tracy had a little bit of hers then auctioned off the rest of it, which I happily took under my wing. The raspberry and mango were the best, although the lemon was good too. The fruits were okay – they could have easily been canned and I would have believed it. However, the sorbet went gorgeously with the smeared side of burnt meringue.

Yes, I basically had two desserts. I ordered the Sketch Chocolat – Dark chocolate mousse in a “box”, blackberry, coffee, Kalua, baileys ice cream and nougatine. The ice-cream in the pot had more-or-less melted, so it was more like a little soup drinking it with the spoon. The mousse in the dark chocolate box was a little harder than I would have liked, as I was expecting a proper mousse. Having said that, all the flavours worked well together and therefore everything tasted really good, although I would have preferred it if the dessert was all-together and not two separate things, unless I was supposed to pour it over the box and just didn’t realise…

Although I didn’t say anything about it being Dad’s birthday when I booked the restaurant as he isn’t really big on the whole Happy Birthday singing in restaurants for himself, Ming had casually mentioned to one of the waiters whilst we walked in. The staff very sweetly brought him a little plate of desserts with a big fat “Happy Birthday Guy” written in out chocolate.

Overall, the set menu was amazing value for money. The food, ambience, decor and staff were all fantastic. Dad thanked me for booking Sketch as he thought it was the absolute perfect place to go an celebrate his birthday. What can I say Dad, you raised a clever little girl. Happy Birthday!

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