Friday, July 6, 2012

Sketch Restaurant London

We were recommended to this wierd place by our hotel. Its one of a new wave of "different" London restaurants. Its on Conduit Street just off Regent St. The decor is bizarre, a mix of old London classy (It was originally home to Dior London), and modernist hip. I wanted to use the bathroom and I was presented with two doors both illuminated with lights in glass doors half mirrors like something one might find at the Tate by the leading modernist artist. One was red and the other blue. After some hesitation I chose blue. The pisseur had a wall of water falling into it down a mirrored wall, the place was stunning, the walls like a night sky with stars and worth a visit to the restaurant just to see. I asked the waiter and he said well blue is for boys sir....hmmm.

The food was equally wierd. The chef can cook. The actual food itself was good, a superb piece of pork, the best I have ever eaten. My friends steak perfect. But the starters and the mains were surrounded by frilly stuff, a superb oyster covered in white foam, a tender langoustine surrounded with little blobs of some odd sauce, a wonderful lobster bisque, a not so good crab salsa. I chose a bottle of Costieres des Nimes at 25 pounds as most of the wine list (150 pages I'm sure) was over 100 pounds a bottle! Despite its position near the bottom of the list, it was the best Costieres I have ever drank, estate bottled and just the right gameyness.

 I cannot classify the place, pretentious waiters who when you ask them real questions stutter and don't know the answers, a deft and experienced Maitre'd who is unctous and arrogant at the same time, but who I liked and knew his world very well. They are truly an experience, and on reflection that is what they aim to achieve, and they do it well. I would recommend a visit just so you could see a totally different world at work. Downstairs the young and fast set at play, and upstairs the young and wealthy fast set drinking champagne like there is no tommorrow. For some reason I was reminded of Berlin just before the second world war, frenetic pleasure, people partying like there will be no tomorrow. Scary but nice.