Art Dining at Sketch

by Joelle

After ten exciting years, sketch continues to be at the forefront of the city’s dining scene. Unparalleled in London, it remains ever true to its integrity as a place that is constantly evolving. Known for its distinctive style and attention to detail, sketch has gained itself a worthy reputation as a venue that never rests on its laurels.

Opened in December 2002, sketch was masterminded by legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz. Gagnaire’s eponymous three Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris has a unique modern European menu style, which he has adapted for sketch.

Since its inception, sketch has had a strong affiliation with art. Located in a Grade II listed building, sketch was formerly the headquarters of both RIBA and Christian Dior and continues to contribute to the building’s rich heritage as a destination for experimentation in design, art and architecture. As Creative Director, Mourad Mazouz curates each project and ensures every artwork in sketch has a powerful relationship with the space it is in. Over the past decade, sketch has hosted over fifty major exhibitions of moving image in the Gallery, as well as nume- rous off-site projects such as the CINACT series at The Gate Cinema in collaboration with Ser- pentine Gallery and international touring programmes.

Sylvain Chevelu , the guest relation is waiting for us at the  The Parlour, the heart of sketch for a casual meeting and an introduction to the prestigious and trendy venue. . With It’s relaxed and informal atmosphere, accentuated by the eclectic design and friendly service, The Parlour is a perfect venue for an afternoon tea, with homemade cakes and pastries presented in true sketch style on mismatched vintage crockery. At night The Parlour is used exclusively for sketch members, club nights and private events.

Together we walk on our way to the an  impressive room called The Glade . As part of Sketch’s ongoing art program, artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu have created an enchanted fairy-tale forest in The Glade, which launched under a new guise in May 2012.

Taking inspiration from the early 20th century photograph, framed and hanging on the entrance wall,  the two designers have created a whimsical forest-like setting, making it an ideal place for afternoon tea or evening cocktails. Among a relaxed crowd of London Hipsters I detect at distance a bowl of pastel-coloured homemade marshmallows of Malabar, lemon and violet , clearly  made to appeal to the eye as well as the room palette.

We finally arrive at the tremendously fun looking Gallery  entirely designed  by  2012, Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed who creatively  transformed the 130-cover restaurant  into an eclectic and stylish space in the first of a new long-term program of artist-conceived restaurants at sketch.

The project seeks to blur the boundaries between art, food, design and functionality. Through a series of functional and decorative new works Creed has created an environment that is at once, an exhibition, an artwork, a restaurant and an events space. Some of joellestagrams can be seen on the galletu including aFornasetti chair and other fun details.

Master chef Pierre Gagnaire has designed the menu in collaboration with the artist, experimenting and creating dishes directly influenced by Creed’s art. The lively atmosphere and eccentric backdrop make dining at the Gallery an unforgettable experience.

I need to use the bathroom while I wait for the second dish to come. I am shown The East Bar , a circular gold and black sunken bar offering where a few 70’s looking jet setters are having aperitif and after dinner cocktails. The smallest bar in London, the bar has a bespoke carpet depicting the city skyline and  is hosts live DJs as we speak. Suddenly I am introduced to a white  space filled with tall eggs shaped cubicles. A middle aged lady dressed as a typical English housekeeper in Black with a impeccable white apron and a fabric tiara invites me to use any of the several eggs. Inside a lovely silence and birds songs , and a t times a voice coming from Mars reminds me of a 50 pence price . For what?

Back to my seat, the food is eccentric, maybe delicious maybe unusual. Jerusalem Artichokes in hazenut oil, pure of Jerusalem artichokes: Tomato concasse with coconut milk  lemongrass and ginger , marshmallows and burrata ice cream, Winter pumpkin soup , popcorns, sweetcorn ice-cream, goat’s cheese, Swiss chard ravioli with pine nuts, courgettes and basil brunoise, bouillon ” Zezzette.”, pasties and miniardises, featured on joellestagram.

Emotionally drunk, and overwhelmed by the multiple  dimension artistic experience , the Lecture Room & Library apparently a tour de force in fine dining and design  awarded its first Michelin star in 2005. Pierre Gagnaire’s award-winning menu and the extensive and acclaimed wine list, curated by sommelier Fred Brugues, make it one of London’s finest dining destinations will have to wait for my next reservation and   even if the chandeliers are designed  by  celebre Mourad Mazouz and Gabhan O’Keefe , the best I am sure will be yet to come.


Joelle’s Picks:

9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG Tel: 020 7659 4500

Mayfair @sketchlondon

sketch restaurant London













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