3 things I didn’t know about the Afternoon Tea

London ·
Afternoon tea at Sketch London

Since I live in London I came to appreciate more and more the Afternoon Tea tradition.

I have a confession to make: at the beginning I found the idea of an ‘afternoon tea’ terribly boring. In my (Italian) mind I pictured a slow afternoon in the company of some old nice English ladies, sipping sugarless Earl Grey tea with shortbreads and having a conversation about exciting topics like weather or fox hunting.

Yes, we do have this stereotyped idea of the ‘afternoon tea’.

Imagine how happy I was to find out I was SO wrong! Afternoon teas in London are everything but boring, especially when they are so pretty and stylish like the one at Sketch restaurant.

Afternoon tea at Sketch London Afternoon tea at Sketch London Afternoon tea at Sketch London

Spiced up by the amazing illustration – well, ‘sketches’ 🙂 – of  David Shrigley, the Afternoon Tea at Sketch now takes places in the marvellous main restaurant room. 

Now, let’s debunk a few mythes about English Afternoon Teas:

1. You only drink tea

Of course not! You are most welcome to have a glass of bubbles as well. At Sketch I chose a rosé Champagne, the Pommery Apanage Rosé. Yes, it was 4.30 in the afternoon and it felt so right to indulge a bit with some bubbly drink.

Afternoon tea at Sketch LondonAfternoon tea at Sketch London

2. You eat biscuits

Wrong again. Usually Afternoon Teas serve the most amazing treats you can imagine. A must is the Scone, which doesn’t require any presentations – of course served with the traditional cream and strawberry jam (this time I also tried it with an amazingly yummy fig jam). The other pastries and cakes may vary depending on the menu, this time I was spoiled with an old fashioned pistachio macaroon, an almond and berry tartlet, a coffee éclair, a strawberry cheesecake in a glass, some – incredibly good – mousse malabar marshmallows, a «meringa tarta» and a raspberry meringue. Yes, all for me 😀

The food during an afternoon tea is usually prettily presented in beautiful cake stands like this one:

Afternoon tea at Sketch LondonAfternoon tea at Sketch LondonAfternoon tea at Sketch London

3. You only eat sweet food

Oh, no! Usually the ‘base’ of the cake stand consists of savoury treats like the ones I had: delicious and super fresh ricotta, cucumber and asparagus sandwiches, a mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur and an egg-mayonnaise and quail egg sandwich.

Afternoon tea at Sketch London    Afternoon tea at Sketch London

I loved the setting. It is not the first time that Sketch restaurant collaborates with wolrd-famous artists. The collaboration with Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed in 2012 was a huge success and this year it is the turn of British artist, David Shrigley. He transformed the restaurant into a gallery space, filling the wall space with his illustrations  – 239 new works – and also customizing the ceramics used for the Tea. 

I have to admit I loved the ceramics, and they’re on sale too!

Sketch Afternoon Tea London

Well, actually the Afternoon Tea at Sketch was more than ok, it was perfect: so charming and relaxing. I felt truly pampered, and the Marie-Antoinette-pink room provided the ideal atmosphere.

If you decide to try Sketch Afternoon Tea, my suggestion is: drink a lot of tea and champagne and DO NOT FORGET to use the toilets. You’ll thank me later 🙂

Afternoon Tea at Sketch

9 conduit street

London W1S 2XG