Sunday, 15 December 2019

Sketch Lecture Room

The new 3 stars on the block

Wild Native Turbot Roasted On The Bone

When the 2020 Michelin Guide result was released in September, Sketch was promoted from 2 stars to 3 stars. It stunned many people, including myself. I had an average meal at Sketch 5 years ago and I got to say it was 1 star level at best. Since then, there has been a new head chef and many rounds of menu changes, so maybe it is time for me to head back to give it another try. What makes Sketch special is its strange, fun and eye-catching decor, from its Alice in Wonderland theme bar, the pink-themed casual restaurant to the flagship, 3 Michelin starred fine dining Lecture Room. The restaurant is overseen by the legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire, which is known for his creative approach in fine dining, using odd ingredients combination.

Roasted Scallop / Colonnata Ham / Sea Urchin Bisque with Oban Malt Whiskey
Langoustines Mousse Perfumed with Green Indian Cardamom
Live Langoustines, Poached and Rolled in a Rice Sheet
Langoustines / Potato Crystalline / Bigorre Ham
Sea Urchin Tongues / Seaweed / Cauliflower
Hand-dived Scottish Scallop Pascaline / Coconut / Wood Ears
Langoustines, Tacle Reduction / Brussel Sprouts / Green Puy Lentils

I opted for the alc menu, the langoustine starter came in a number of dishes, the langoustine moose blended with cardamon tasted like the sea, really rich in seafood umami flavour and I would happily eat that all day long. The poached version that wrapped in rice paper was unusual, I felt the crispness of the beetroot did not work so well and it was a dish that had amazing flavours but incorrect texture. For main, I had a wonderful wild turbot roasted on the bone, it was really fresh and perfectly seasoned. The pear and cucumber garnishes offered both sweetness and freshness to the plate, what puzzled me was the side of pumpkin ice cream, it added nothing to the experience and I did not enjoy something ice cold to go with the main course. However, I did enjoy the other side of the potato mash with cheese and champagne, the sharpness and fruitiness of the champagne balanced off the richness of the potato nicely.

Raw Cherry Stone and Verni Clams / Tokyo Turnip / Ostra Regal No.4
Foie Gras Velouté / Baby Onions / Abalone / Green Curry
Leek Fondue Ravioli / Cornish Mussel Soup / Scottish Razor Clams
Bara Isle Cockles / Almond Clams / Tartufi di Mare
Potato Mash / Gruyère / Champagne
TaÏnori Soufflé with Smokey Monkey Shoulder - Manjari Ice Cream

The meal had a lovely dramatic element, lots of tableside service with a beautiful dining room and great service to match, however, for me it was far from a 3 stars experience. When you are charging more than £140 for food alone, it needs to be better than that. The cooking was too ambitious for me, each course came with at least 3 plates and I felt it was just too much. I would prefer the kitchen focus on 1 single plate of food at a time and make it extremely amazing instead of spreading the focus into so many small dishes at once, especially some of the combinations just didn't work for me. I can see the cooking used plenty of top-grade ingredients, but the end result falls short to what I was expecting. Sometimes, less is more indeed.

Food 4/5

Executive chef: 
Pierre Gagnaire

Average cost without drinks and services :

£145 tasting menu

9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG

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