Sketch has a wine list with more accolades than you can shake a stick at, and even for myself with a decent knowledge of wines, it was quite daunting. Perhaps the sheer depth of a list, the weightiness of a tome is designed to make us regular wine drinkers feel inadequate? I'm all for choice, but it would take more time to read the entire list than to eat the 6 course tasting menu, so my recommendation to prospective guests is to start with an idea of your budget and tastes, then let the sommelier guide you. Alternatively, try to get a copy of the wine list emailed to you in advance so you can take your time, enjoy it and make a rough selection to discuss with the sommelier.
Sadly, I bring this recommendation to you at the expense of my own experience. To match with a 6 course tasting menu is a challenge for any wine, or even 2-3 wines. As a party of 4 with somewhat differing tastes in wines, we opted for the wine pairing selection, providing 6 wines to match the 6 main dishes on the menu. At the same price as the food (£95) I'm sure that your party could gain better value by selecting a wise bottle or two. Spending over £400 on wine, we experienced some interesting and indeed inspired pairings, but left feeling neither tipsy nor that we'd had value for money on the wine front. The pours seemed somewhat stingy and not at all in keeping with the opulence of the surroundings or the punchiness of the food. Given we'd all enjoyed a cocktail or G&T or two pre-dinner, leaving the restaurant feeling completely sober was not a good sign!
While the plates look small, the flavours are immense and we felt that a pour which doesn't even reach the widest part of the glass left us without enough wine to savour with each dish. Rarely have I experienced a wine pairing where I've not had enough to sip whilst waiting for the next course, but in every case, we were left drinking water between courses.
It might sound churlish, but at £250 a head, we'd also prefer not to feel rushed. There was something "American" in style about the service as dishes where whisked away while other party members were still eating, and at one point, I was still eating dessert round one when dessert round two was brought and placed beside me. Not really what I expect from a restaurant of this standard, and yet when questioned, it seems to be their way. I must visit Paris again to see if that's how they're doing it there these days...
Onto the positives. The welcome, the reception, the greeting could not be friendlier. David, the Irish host, seem born for this job. All dietary requirements we'd indicated at the time of booking had been noted and taken into account, and the surroundings are nothing short of magnificent. Indeed, when calling to make the reservation, my phone number had clearly been stored in some kind of Customer Relationship Management system and I was greeted by my maiden name. Impressive, if a little spooky given I could hardly be described as a regular.
The food itself is astonishing. Never before have I eaten so many dishes where the flavours were so powerful, and so full of all the flavour groupings. It seemed like each dish was a study in combining sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami. My impression was that sour is "flavour of the season" as this is the over-riding taste that took precedence in all dishes. My lemon-loving dining companion was delighted. Possibly, this was why we felt the need for more wine - the powerful forces needed to be quelled.
To be completely fair, the food was fantastic. Every dish was a conversation piece and all of the wines were delicious. Is it value for money? That's for you to decide. The food holds it own against other restaurants in it's category. The wines, less so despite the inclusion of some renowned, even cult hits. It's also a feast for the eyes, and the bars downstairs are among the top places to "be seen" in London. So, go. Experience it. But choose your own wine.