If you have never had an authentic afternoon tea before you are really missing out. The first time I had afternoon tea was with my friend Amy at the Grand Floridian Resort during my Disney College Program. It was fancy, and fun, and delicious. Since that first time Amy and I have done tea only once more, mainly because tea at the Grand Floridian books months in advance and even then is extremely hard to get a reservation for.
Seeing as we were going to London, I had no other food plans except for tea…and fish and chips. Knowing me, I wasnt just going to pick a random place for tea I did a lot of research. One place that wasnt too expensive but not cheap either kept cropping up in top 10 lists all over the net…Sketch. I checked the website, which can only be described as basic at best. I was a little hesitant but checking their menu, photos online, and all the great reviews I knew this was the place. Even better they took online reservations and had an opening the day we arrived at 4:00pm. That seemed a little late to me but the time ended up working perfectly. My flight ended up being late by an hour which pushed us about 2 hours behind schedule. If we have any earlier of a reservation we would have missed our tea.
The restaurant itself is right in the middle of the shopping meca of London. I dont remember how we got there because Joe was in charge of directions and I was exhausted from all the traveling. We found the very discrete entrance and came into the warmth of the restaurant. There are at least 3 different sections, 1 for tea, 1 for the bar and 1 for dinner. The tea room was all pink and white with super cushy chairs. The room was packed as full as it could but I didnt feel terribly squashed. We ordered the regular afternoon tea but there was a champagne option was well. I would have fallen asleep at the table if we had champagne so we skipped it. First up was the tray of deliciousness…tea sandwiches and small desserts.
The sandwiches were salmon, grilled cheese, coronation chicken, egg salad, and cucumber. I loved all the sandwiches except cucumber, because I dont like that vegetable at all. The desserts were passion fruit tart, pistachio cream puff and chocolate espresso cake. The passion fruit tart was beyond delicious, pistachio cream puff was light and airy and I didnt eat the chocolate cake because its two of my least favorite things. The parfait on top was blackberry cheesecake which was ok, a little too tart for my taste. This tray came with unlimited refills. We took advantage and ordered a second helping of the sandwiches we liked but not any of the desserts.
Next up were the scones with clotted cream and two kinds of jam. I got the scone with raisins, Joe got the plain scone. I really liked the clotted cream with raspberry jam on the raisin scone. The scone itself was perfectly moist and not a brick, the cream and jam perfectly complimented that. I wish we could have had more of those, I love bread!
Final course was the dessert. We had two options, the chocolate cake or the special of the day which was a lemon meringue cake. We both chose the lemon cake and while it was good it just wasnt hitting the spot so we both didnt finish this one. While we didnt finish the dessert we both left thouraly stuffed which I was surprised by. Before I talk about the service, I have to mention the tea!
Such a cute cup! I had the Christmas Chai and Joe had the vanilla black tea. I enjoyed my chia but though the flavor wasnt as rich as a loose leaf tea would have been. Joe liked his vanilla tea but I didnt try any I just wasnt feeling it. Tea had unlimited refills as well.
I also had to make sure and stop and check out the bathrooms. Why? Well, nature calls for one, and the other because the bathroom was the most talked about feature of all the reviews I read. For obvious reason, this was a weirdo bathroom! Each toilet had its own egg pod and there were quite a few scattered around. I felt like I was in some sci-fi movie using those toilets. I told Joe to go check them out but didnt tell him why, he was cracking up when he got back to the table.
Ive said how good the food was, tea was decent, atmosphere was fun so what about the service? Well…meh is about all I can say. Our waitress was friendly when she came by…emphasis on the when. We were at the restaurant for about 2 1/2 hours. Thats right…a LONG TIME for tea. It took at least 30 minutes to get the check. I had a great time and we enjoyed our experience but when Im ready to leave I want to leave. All that being said I would still recommend Sketch for tea in London. I had a great unique experience that you just cant match at a hotel.
CHIME IN!!! Have you had afternoon tea before? Whats your favorite thing to do in a new place? Ever been to a weird restroom before?