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Afternoon Tea at Sketch London: The most expensive Instagram photo I’ve ever taken

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

If you’ve been scrolling on the gram any time in the last few years, you’ve probably seen one of your favourite influencers perfectly perched in a pink tufted chair holding some form of tea or champagne looking amazing (as per usual) surrounded by various sketched artworks. The backdrop to their stunning snap is The Gallery at Sketch in London, a quirky 18th-century tea room that transforms into a cocktail lounge at night.

Honestly, they had me at pink. Any opportunity for a cute little snap in a totally PFG (pink feed goals) location and I am there! So, when Ben and I were in London in early January a spot of tea at Sketch was at the top of the to-do list.

I read online that bookings were recommended and as we were short on time I didn’t want to risk missing out. We booked the latest time slot for their afternoon tea. It was still during their holiday period so at £95 per person (usually £59), I paused before booking but decided to throw caution to the wind and just book it, we were on vacation anyhow.

I should’ve taken my hesitation as a sign. We arrived for our reservation and were kindly greeted by several staff upon entering. As we were led into the Gallery my eyes lit up at the sight of all the pink. Once we were seated all of my expectations slowly began to dwindle.

For starters, we were squeezed in so close to the people dining next to us we could hear their whole conversation - including when they watched Justin Bieber’s newly released ‘Yummy’ music video and also when they expressed their disappointment in their meal and left before their last course could be served.

Despite being a little too close to our neighbours we tried to stay optimistic about the experience. We opted for the afternoon tea “with bubbles”, Ben got the Pommery Brut Royal and I got the alcohol free Bellini and they were divine. We both selected delicious teas (at least I thought so, Ben doesn’t really like tea) and awaited the arrival of the first of our 4 course afternoon tea.

The first course was Caviar and some fancy dippy eggs and soldiers. Ben and I sat awkwardly looking at each other before we both decided to take the plunge and eat the caviar (our first time), it was both fishy and salty.

Our second course was sandwiches and sweets. Sounds delicious right?! Wrong. It’s at this point I should mention that the head chef at Sketch is Pierre Gagnaire and the menu is a loose adaptation of his three Michelin-Star restaurant in Paris. Our three-tiered tower of gorgeous sweets and sandwiches arrived and with each bite were promptly returned to their original place. Sadly, it was a little too fancy for my taste buds but fortunately I still had my bellini and tea.

Our third course was classic scones with an assortment of jam and cream. We managed to eat all of this in no time. Our server returned to clear our empty plates and asked if we’d like to have our fourth course to stay or to go as he assumed we might be full after three courses. As we had eaten hardly any of the first two courses and one scone each, we decided to stay for our fourth and final course for the “experience” (AKA get our monies worth).

For our final course, we were given two options for a slice of cake each. We both chose the vanilla sponge cake because to be completely honest we thought it was the safest choice. Once again, it looked nice but sadly was dry and left us disappointed. By this time, the Gallery had quietened down from when we first arrived so we quickly took this as our opportunity to snap the photo for gram and scoot on out of there.

Long story, long! Skip the afternoon tea and instead opt for dinner and cocktails, you can choose what you’d like from the menu and will probably save yourself a lot of money in the process. If you’d like to re-live our expensive mishap, head on over to my Instagram and watch the London Highlight.

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