All reader reviews by Anonymous

Sketch Lecture Room & Library

The setting is gorgeous, but the restaurant was empty and the meal was extremely rich and way over-the-top elaborate. There was a phalanx of waiters dancing on our every whim, and every course was at least five dishes, with a few extra courses thrown in for good measure.

I knew it was famed for being expensive, and I didn't in fact see the bill, but the prices on the menu were indeed phenomenal. The nicest part of the evening was the bar, which was exotic but comfortable, with a fun drinks menu. After a 15-minute wait, we were served some well-mixed martinis. I was scolded by the maitre d' for not announcing ourselves as dinner guests before heading for the bar, and then we were guided up the grand RIBA staircase and told the history of the building.

The menu was admirably brief, but full of priceless ingredients with lots of tiny items and a great deal of frothing. I had the foie gras starter and the sea bass, both of which were wonderful, but the 15 or so extra dishes escape my memory, apart from a glass of courgette froth and some good bread. The wine list sported some surprisingly reasonable prices at the entry level, and our Sauvignon Blanc was lovely.

An interlude in the ladies' loos was like having a walk-on role in Moulin Rouge - wildly black and sparkly, with the loo roll suspended on a diamante chain.

Afterwards we were taken downstairs to see the Gallery restaurant, which had the appearance of a hotel coffee shop but was full with a young crowd, and then to another small bar which was neon-lit and loud, but nowhere near as glam as the front bar.

Looking at our fellow diners in the Lecture Room and Library, they were a mixture of couples and foursomes, probably more private than business. A side room had a group from Bank of America, the maitre d' told us, as if this was something notable. To my observation, the place was quite empty, but the waitress said that actually they had 35 covers, but I think that must have included the bank guys.

Definitely a place to go for a special occasion.

Friday, April 28, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6

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