Harden's survey result
This “simply stunning” fairytale chamber on the top floor of the well-known Mayfair palazzo won many 5/5 reviews this year, while avoiding the brickbats often thrown at it in former years. “In these curious post-Covid times, where even the most indifferent restaurants are charging hard, this one now seems good value”, despite its notoriously vertiginous prices. Overseen by Gallic über-chef Pierre Gagnaire – Daniel Stucki provides a “divine” selection of intriguing modern French dishes, be it from the £190 tasting menu or £210 three-course à la carte. If this venue continues on its current “outstanding” form, we will have to finally agree that it is “deserving of its three Michelin stars”.
“In an utterly fairytale setting full of glamour, you can’t help but feel a sense of occasion” on the “unbelievably OTT” top floor of this grand Mayfair palazzo: “from the entrance to the fine-dining experience, it makes for a fabulous date night!” But its “pocket-bursting prices” are a source of widespread complaint, and one or two reporters feel that its elevation by Michelin to its highest echelons was misjudged (“three stars! REALLY? Nowhere near”). While converts are “over the moon due to the stunning reality” of the “joyful intricacy of the cuisine” from a “wacky but delightful” menu designed (from afar) by Gallic superstar Pierre Gagnaire, others discern “a confusing medley of French fiddliness that feels rather outdated”. Service is “faultless” on most accounts, if “in the breathless French-formal style”. Top Tip – “best to go for lunch if you want value for money”.
“Glitz and completely OTT surroundings make this an experience that will be remembered” – there’s all-round applause for this “fabulous and very romantic” dining room, on the top floor of a Mayfair palazzo of fairy tale grandeur. For the most part, despite the terrifying pricing, this praise also extends beyond the “magnificent” setting to the “superb” cuisine, which is overseen (from afar) by star chef Pierre Gagnaire. Meals “come with so many bits and bobs, so you don’t really know where to start” but on nearly all accounts it’s “superb”. Whether Michelin should really have awarded it three stars, though, is debatable. A fair summary: “Grade A for effort, but it’s all a bit too much”.
Up the sweeping staircase of this vast Mayfair palace, this “spectacular, grand, imposing and romantic” dining room certainly looks the part for a fairytale date (hint: “it might be a bit OTT for some tastes”). Star chef Pierre Gagnaire’s “creative” and complex menu features some “really quirky and delicious touches” and for most reporters “its two Michelin stars are well-deserved”. Even some fans, though, feel the wine list in particular is “stupidly overpriced” and there is a school of thought that, although “the tasting menu is all very nice, dishes don’t really hang together too well”; or that you plain just “shouldn’t waste your money here”. “A selfie in the crystal-lined loos is a must though”.
For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
Have you eaten at Sketch, The Lecture Room and Library?
Sketch, The Lecture Room and Library Restaurant Diner Reviews
"I went for the tasting menu. The food was technically exceptional but I felt that there was a lack of cohesion, both within each dish and between courses. For example, raw scallops were paired with smoked fish and caviar, which completely outshone them, although the dish was delicious. The "grand dessert" was, in fact, no fewer than seven (!) mini desserts, each separately plated. The presentation and abundance was exciting but, again, there was little cohesion between the different dishes, and they missed a trick by having all seven as cold dishes. I felt that there was a bit too much going on in some of the dishes, which occasionally detracted from the fantastic produce. There were, however, some standout dishes. Roscoff onion and juniper agnolotti were served on finely diced confit sweetbreads, and the dish was rich and luxurious and utterly delicious without being overwhelming, even as an early course. The service was absolutely exceptional, to a degree that is unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere. Every person that we encountered was both incredibly professional and incredibly friendly. The staff appeared to love the over-the-top world of Sketch and understood that they were providing a whole experience, not just a meal. I asked, at the end of the meal, if the chef might sign a menu for me and was amazed that Daniel Stucki not only wrote something personalised but brought it up in person, to say hello. Overall, I consider this one of the best dining experiences in London but not the best gastronomic one."
"Return after five years…it’s even better! It’s almost impossible to put into words the totality of the experience. From entering this quite extraordinary venue, you are greeted with quiet superb professionalism. The building is fascinating in the way you are greeted with its stunning decor. Staff are extraordinarily attentive, at times it’s almost overwhelming, but it’s just the military level choreography of the whole operation. From the start of the experience of the huge variety of amuse bouche, through incredible taste experiences to the rightfully famous stunning six element dessert. I cannot find anything to criticise about this world famous venue with so many special memories. If there was ever a place to visit the toilets it’s here! Two of the most iconic and varied separate facilities I have ever seen! This gastronomic heaven is, unquestionably beyond my limited ability to adequately describe its multiple joys. Not the easiest place to book, as it’s so popular, but oh so worth it. We went into the kitchen to visit chef and his talented brigade, and wow, nowhere near the largest kitchen I have visited but the food coming out of it belies the restrictions of space."
"Having had some misgivings reading earlier reviews, we were surprised to find they were off the mark. The food was as perfect and as imaginative as I had originally expected from a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant. The service was personal but not over attentive. The wines by the glass left me truly spoilt for choice. Only reservation was the over decorated environment; not to my taste but probably to others."
|Wine per bottle
9 Conduit St, London, W1S 2XG
|Number of Diners:
|6:30 pm‑9 pm
|6:30 pm‑9 pm
|12 pm‑3:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9 pm
|12 pm‑3:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9 pm