So, for my last night in London, I was treated to the remarkable coincidence that my dear friend Hillary was in town, also for work. This was quite a fun “we’ve grown up” moment, as we’ve definitely come a long way from our dorm rooms and mini-fridges in 1994 to international business travel in 2007! We are also both September birthday girls, so we had some celebrating to do.
After MUCH deliberation with the office gals, we got a reservation at a place called Sketch. My friend at work assured me we were quite lucky to get in, as there was some sort of art week something or other going on, and this is supposedly a place for the glitterati… I met Hilary at her hotel, and we headed to the restaurant. Mind you, there is a “fine dining” section upstairs, plus several other bars and such inside, so the place has all sorts of stuff going on. (Feel free to check out the Web site if you’re really curious – http://www.sketch.com.uk/) I think the thing we were both most taken by upon entering was some live-motion statue of a dog eating out of a trash can. Seriously.
Anyway, here’s what the dining room looks like without any people in it…
It’s also a gallery by day, and at night they have some kind of funky black and white new-age video show going on with techno music and kooky images (as Hilary said, “that candle looks like it was made on a Commodore 64”), juxtaposed with text like (I literally wrote this down):
MY GOAL IN LIFE IS TO GIVE THE WORLD WHAT I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO RECEIVE
THE EXTASY OF DEVINE UNION
THROUGH MY MUSIC
AND MY DANCE
DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE
I think “sensory overload” is probably the best way to describe the scene, as there was so much going on, it was almost hard to concentrate! When I insisted that Hilary switch seats with me so she could look out and have the “good” seat, she said, “I can’t believe you’ve even been able to talk to me, there’s so much going on behind you!”
The other décor highlight was the bathrooms, which are individual egg-shaped stalls/pods (kind of like an airplane bathroom, honestly) with French maids in attendance.
Anyway, the food…we started with cocktails: a champagne one with various fruity things and some kind of pink lemonade. Hilary had a delicious starter of a gazpacho with fresh melon and a berry sorbet; it also had some ham toasts on the side. I had pan-seared gnocchi with gorgonzola, strawberry and tomato, which was a really different combination of flavors, and just fantastic. However, her duck entrée was definitely tastier than my scallops. And after that, I just felt like I needed another course, so I got a cheese plate, which was an enormous (considering all the other portions had been typically avant garde-miniscule) platter of stilton, fresh mozzarella, toasted nuts and grapes. For dessert, Hil had something that was chocolate with a gelatin center, and I got this selection where they bring you four pastries and a sorbet, and you pick two of the four pastries, along with the sorbet. One of my pastries was a really dense, rich chocolate tart with a crisp crust, and the other one was an impossible to describe mix of lemon and some kind of airy cookie with delicious cream. Oh, and the sorbet was something like passionfruit mango, so it was really 3 desserts in one.
From there, we headed to a bar called Jewel around the corner (HD's favorite spot), where we got a random person to take a photo just for documentation!
And with that, the long journey home began…