How to Have London’s Best Afternoon Tea at Sketch

So you’ve seen the notorious pink velvet awash on every fashion blogger’s London posts, or maybe you read this article of London’s most Instagrammed restaurants. No matter how you found it, your heart is set on visiting  the glorious pink halls of Sketch during your next trip to London.

I made my first pilgrimage to this basic betch holy site back in December, and I’m happy to report that it lived up to the social media hype. Yes, it’s really that beautiful and pink, and it really was worth the 50 pound price tag.

In case you decide to make the chic visit to Mayfair during an upcoming London trip, I wanted to share my top tips for having the best afternoon tea at Sketch, so you get your money’s worth and take full advantage of the insta opportunity.

Book Well In Advance
Trust me, you aren’t the only tourist or Londoner to see Sketch on Instagram and want to high tail it to its candy-colored halls. This place is packed, especially on weekends and especially in the pink room (more on that soon), so be sure to book ahead, particularly if you’re in London for a limited amount of time. Reservations open one month in advance for tea on their site, so set a reminder to reserve your table on that date.

Book the Correct Room & Time
While the cotton candy velvet dreamland is Sketch’s most famous room, there are actually several different dining options in the restaurant, and all have very specific themes including The Glade, The Lecture Room and the Parlour. If you’re looking for the quintessential experience, book afternoon tea in The Gallery. Dinner is served there as well, if there are no tea reservations available. Afternoon tea service ends around 5:30PM, so book a late reservation from 3:30PM onward. You’re less likely to be asked to give up your table after two hours (there won’t be any more tea reservations to take your spot), and you’ll have a better chance of taking photos without random strangers crowding your pics.

Get Super Bougie
Oh you fancy huh? London is a fashion-conscious, dressy city to begin with, but you can embrace your inner diva even more during your trip to Sketch. Every patron seemed to don their bougie best (even on a Wednesday afternoon), so have some fun, channel your inner Caroline Stanbury or Princess Kate, and get a bit extra. I guarantee someone will be dressed more outrageously than you. Faux fur coat and Celine sunglasses indoors ? Don’t mind if I do! Don’t worry, they were removed post photo op.

Sunglasses // Faux Fur Coat (mine’s old, so I linked a similar style)

Don’t Miss Your Grand Entrance
Located right near busy Regent Street, the entrance to Sketch can be easy to miss to the untrained eye. Mysterious sculptures don the nondescript entry, and if you’re too caught up in the London people-watching you could easily walk right by. I love the whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” esque arrival, just be sure you don’t miss it!

The intriguing, non-labelled entrance, a bit more festive for Christmas.

Find Out What You Like And Order More
Yes, afternoon tea is expensive (starts at 45 pounds, depending on time of year), but luckily refills are included! The waitress kept offering my friend Riley and I more tea, sandwiches and cake, and we feared a massive bill at the end of our meal. When we found out that ordering more food and tea was included, you better believe I (a little too enthusiastically) asked for more coronation chicken, chai tea and glorified grilled cheese. You also can sub out food you don’t like (I’m not a huge smoked salmon fan) for preferred options, so don’t be afraid to make the request. The staff were very helpful and accommodating, and you should feel that you are getting your money’s worth.

I could drink gallons of their chai tea, especially out of the playful cups and pot.

Lose Any Photo Shame
Don’t pretend you booked this tea without Instagram in mind. You came to get some stylish grams, so you better embrace your inner Mario Testino and take advantage of the opportunity. I sometimes can get a bit camera-shy when I’m in public spaces, but at Sketch everyone is hoping to get those absolutely necessary pink photos to bombard social media, so you have nothing to fear. Plus, every detail is so damn photogenic! Snap away, lose any shame, and you’ll be the envy of Instagram.

Take A Bathroom Break
No, I’m not being a weirdo and reminding you to use the toilet. The bathrooms at Sketch are just a work of art that should be appreciated as much as the dining rooms. Men’s on the left and women’s on the right (it’s not labelled, and you don’t want to wander around the men’s side like I did). There are spaceship like pods, trippy lighting and even a selfie-mirror. Definitely take a tour. And said selfie.

Snoop Around
While you can easily spend hours poring over every piece of pink velvet or rose gold in The Gallery, make sure you enjoy a wander around the entire property. Each room is expertly themed and has its own cavalcade of fantastic details to enjoy. I felt like I could have spent hours more there taking in all of the delights.

 

Let me know if you make the journey to the pink palace – I can’t wait to see your photos! 

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle links are affiliate links.

London Brunch: Granger & Co, Notting Hill

Today I miraculously managed to wake before noon all in the name of schlepping to West London for brunch. My new school friend Riley and I have bonded over our mutual love of the meal and have made a habit of trying a new place every weekend. What better excuse to explore London’s many neighborhoods than in the name of eggs, hotcakes, coffee, and sometimes (if we’re feeling frisky) a mimosa?

This morning we set our sights on Notting Hill, as we were both eager to find a reprieve from our many student nights out in hip, yet grimy East London.

Walking up from the bowels of the Underground, you’re immediately greeted by Notting Hill’s quirky and very chic charm. It isn’t quite Mayfair loud money vibes, but more of a granola, aging hippies with wealth atmosphere. You don’t get streets this pristine in Shoreditch, yet they still try to maintain the neighborhood’s bohemian character.

Notting Hill Street Facades Quirky Notting Hill Storefronts

I’d love to return soon for a drink at the iconic Beach Blanket Babylon or peruse the famous Portobello Market on a less tourist-heavy weekday.

Beach Blanket Babylon Notting Hill

It’s already freezing here, so I snuggled into this over-sized sweater from Asos. Warm enough so I don’t need to wear a coat yet, it’s my attempt at inserting more color into my almost all-black wardrobe. I attempted one of those blogger-favorite “stylishly stepping off the stairs of a townhome in London” shots, but I’m awkward and stuck to the selfies.

Notting Hill Street Style in Oversized Pink Sweater
Sweater (similar) // Jeans – super inexpensive  // Black booties – very comfortable // Bag

After spending way too much time taking photos of the temptingly photogenic shops and houses, I finally made my way to Westbourne Grove and Granger & Co, our chosen brunch haven for the morning. The queue builds up as early as 10AM, so make sure to go early or be prepared to wait!

Granger & Co, Notting Hill

Since I was running late, I luckily didn’t have to wait too long (sorry, Riley!), and we were quickly seated for feasting. Service was quick but not rushed, but also not overly warm. The menu is quite healthy (it’s founded by health-conscious Aussies), and they’re known for their whipped scrambled eggs and decidedly unhealthy ricotta hotcakes. Riley and I settled in and studiously browsed the menu.

Menu at Granger & Co, Notting Hill

We decided to order the iconic dishes (we’re timeless like that) and had eggs and toast for him and ricotta hotcakes for moi. I’m normally not huge on sweets for breakfast, but oh Lord this was worth it.

Brunch at Granger & Co Notting Hill

Have to shoot from above for that perfect #onthetable shot! Riley loved the toast and artfully whipped eggs. They were almost too pretty eat.

Breakfast at Granger & Co Notting Hill

The hotcakes were fluffy and came with banana, a touch of honeycomb and perfectly portioned syrup. I was a bit nervous they’d be too much like dessert, but the sweetness was spot-on, and oh did I savour every bite. If you make the pilgrimage to Granger, you cannot go wrong with the hotcakes. Feeling guilty, I also had a green juice on the side; it was refreshing and not too liquid salad tasting.

Ricotta Hotcakes at Granger & Co, Notting Hill

While Granger is becoming a tourist-favorite London brunch spot, I still recommend making a trip if you’re in town. Go early to avoid the queue, or visit one of their other locations, as you cannot book ahead. I’d still try the original Notting Hill outpost, as you can easily spend the whole day exploring the surrounding area. You know it’s worth the 40 minute tube ride if I’m satisfied enough to take a smug photo outside afterwards. Hours later, I’m still in a content hotcakes coma.

London Brunch at Granger & Co Notting Hill