Sat with butterscotch schnapps, turkey schnitzel and foamy snow it suddenly started to look a lot like Christmas.
I might as well have been in Lapland but in fact I was perched on the back terrace of a swanky central London Hotel.
The Montague on the Gardens has transformed its outdoor space this winter into a festive ski lodge, complete with fairy light-clad trees and a rather random bear statue wearing a Santa Claus hat.
For £30, guests at the alpine retreat get a little platter of savoury treats and three warming beverages.
Me and my friend headed to the Montague on a rather nippy Sunday night, but thankfully we found a spot next to one of the few heaters dotted around.
Large barrels act as tables, with high bar stools completing the informal vibe.
To start, we ordered some schnapps to warm our cockles.
With a sweet tooth, I opted for butterscotch flavour while my friend sipped on some equally-sugary apple liquor.
We chased the shots with some generous glasses of mulled wine and cider.
While it was a sleepy Sunday night in town – especially in the Russell Square area where the venue is located – the Montague Ski Lodge was abuzz with people getting into the festive swing of things.
A group of 20 party-goers had just left the place, and we were warned that inquisitive shot-drinking skiers should book beforehand.
Feeling a bit warmer with some alcohol inside us, we put in an order for food.
Think Christmas market-style grub, with no cutlery required.
The Ski Lodge Christmas platter comes complete with a mustard-topped hotdog, turkey schnitzel plunged into mashed potato and Camembert swimming in cranberry sauce.
My friend opted for the veggie version, which has variations on the same pieces – vegetarian sausage and bubble and squeak instead of schnitzel.
It wasn’t quite enough to fill us, but we hit the bar to grab some handfuls of sweets. Some large white chocolate coins and marshmallows helped keep the hunger at bay, while a little sugar-dusted mince pie completed the job.
We opted to have our final shot of schnapps inside the Montague hotel. Leaving the ski lodge through a mist of fake snow – which stuck to our entire bodies – we entered a safari-style bar.
A man wearing an animal print waistcoat served us our drinks and it felt as though we’ve shifted from the depths of Siberia to the heat of the African savanna.
Our hour at the ski lodge certainly satisfied our appetite for random adventure and I would definitely recommend it to others looking for something other than a hangout at the pub.
‘Come back in summer,’ our Christmas-jumper clad waiter said as we bode farewell,’ I’ll be wearing Baywatch gear then.’
Apparently Montague’s outside space is transformed into a beach bar in the summer months, with sand underfoot completing the seaside vibe.
‘I never even knew this place existed,’ my friend – a born and bred Londoner – said as we left the place.
The Montague Ski Lodge proves there’s still so many hidden nooks to navigate in the city.
Open from 3:00pm to 9:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays for ‘ski pass’ access, The Montague on the Gardens Ski Lodge and Log Cabin will be open until January 13. To book call 020 7637 1001.