Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) in Mayfair, London, has been newly awarded Three Stars in The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2020.
Only four other restaurants in the UK and Ireland currently hold this distinction: Gordon Ramsay (at Royal Hospital Road) and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester (both in London), and the Fat Duck and Waterside Inn (both in Bray).
So what does Three Michelin Stars actually mean? And what it is about Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) that makes it worthy of Michelin’s highest accolade?
A restaurant which is awarded Three Stars in the Michelin Guide is considered by the Michelin Inspectors to be serving ‘exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey’.
To quote the Guide itself: ‘Our highest award is given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession. The ingredients are exemplary, the cooking is elevated to an art form and their dishes are often destined to become classics’.
Sketch opened in 2003 and is owned by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz. Exuberantly decorated, it features several different spaces in which to enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and cocktails; including The Gallery with its quirky pink palette and David Shrigley artwork.
‘Flamboyant’, ‘luxurious’, ‘whimsical’, ‘theatrical’: Sketch’s Lecture Room & Library is all of these things and more; providing a dining experience unlike any other. The food has been overseen by Pierre Gagnaire since the very beginning; his modern French cooking gaining the restaurant One Michelin Star in 2005 and Two Stars in 2013, before the highest possible honour of Three Michelin Stars was bestowed on it in this year’s Guide.
According to the Michelin Inspectors, the highly organised kitchen team – headed by Johannes Nuding – do an extraordinary job in executing dishes which bear all the Pierre Gagnaire hallmarks: the main ‘plate’ comes surrounded by a number of complementary dishes and before long your table is covered with an assortment of vessels.
As way of an example, one ‘dish’ enjoyed by the Michelin Inspectors was called ‘Pork’ and included Rhug Estate free-range pork fillet marinated with sage and accompanied by wilted spring leaves, celeriac and Eriang Sauce; black pudding with Granny Smith apple and shiso; stuffed pig's trotter; and pig’s ear with grilled leeks and mustard. Another, called ‘Spring’ offered ‘Milk Basket’ with broad beans, garden peas, nasturtium leaves, spinach and eel; mousse of Arctic char with gambas de Palamós and mild onion syrup with cider; and grilled green asparagus with wild garlic and crispy hen's egg.
The Michelin Inspectors describe the array of tastes and textures provided by the multi-faceted courses as truly memorable, commenting that it takes great technical skill, passion and dedication to consistently create dishes of such finesse and elegance. They remark on the high quality of the ingredients and judge the cooking here to be wonderfully complex and highly original, with each element of the meal excelling in terms of structure, composition and, above all, flavour.
The ultimate dining experience needs a suitable backdrop and Sketch certainly provides that.
One of London’s most visually striking restaurants, the Lecture Room & Library is bathed in light from a glass ceiling dome and sumptuously decorated in a kaleidoscope of colours. As with Gagnaire’s cooking, opulence and extravagance are at the heart of the experience, with beautiful details and playful touches all helping to provide a memorable setting for your meal.
An eclectic mix of diners helps to create a relaxed atmosphere – as do the elegantly attired staff who, from the moment you are whisked past the braided rope and up the stairs to be seated, until your departure by the doorman, provide unfailingly attentive and professional service. The Michelin Inspectors were impressed by the team’s warmth and sincerity as well as their ability to make a difficult job look incredibly easy – reserving a special mention for the sommeliers, who really know their stuff!
If you’re in need of a little luxury in your life, then Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) is the restaurant you’ve been looking for. It will whisk you away from the humdrum and the ordinary, providing an immersive dining experience which will not only enchant and excite, but also linger long in the memory.
For a list of all the NEW Star Distinctions for 2020 click here
For all UK Star listings click here
For all Republic Of Ireland Star listings click here