Google Local London Events

The Mad Hatter Meets Santa for a drink (aka Google City Experts Christmas Wonderland)


Last night, Becky and I were fortunate to get a spot at the Google City Experts event up in Haggerston. The event was held at and catered for by The Proud Archivist, a mixed gallery and restaurant space right on the canal. The current exhibition was still on display lending an element of sophistication to the whole event and the restaurant was split into a number of tasting tables for everyone to try. Also in attendance were The Cotton Club and Fluffy Puff Puffs but more on them later. After our initial issues finding the place, it was stellar event and great to meet up with some more Experts.

City Experts ready to taste TPA's menu (photo: Arun Sagar)

City Experts ready to taste TPA’s menu (photo: Arun Sagar)

Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Katie (although I didn’t quite recognise her with the elegant white and gold cat painted on her face) and able to drop off our bags and coats as a designated coat check. Excellent idea, guys, particularly for me given I usually pile in with a bag, cycling jacket, and helmet which is an absolute pain to drag around.

I quickly gravitated to the bar where the TPA was offering up two bespoke Xmas cocktails – a chocolate & chestnut mulled stout and a mince pie mojito. The mulled stout cocktail was my favourite and was surprisingly light with the fruiter stout balanced by the bitter chocolate. Becky opted to stick with mojitos (although I snuck a bite of the mince pie) and while they were a bit too fruity for my tastes, they proved to be a crowd favourite. We then took a quick trip upstairs to check out more of the exhibition and make some hats – because everything is better with a cool hat.

BBQ King Oyster on a stick!

BBQ King Oyster on a stick!

Food wise, the BBQ King Oysters (oyster mushrooms coated in a BBQ sauce and rolled in panko) and the 40 ingredient salad were my favourites on the savoury snacks while both the marshmallows and cotton candy were delightful. The lovely lady behind Fluffy Puff Puffs handing out marshmallows was happy to chat and it turns out she actually intended to start a hot chocolate business but then shortly realised there was a niche market in marshmallows instead.

Peppermint marshmallows from @FluffyPuffPuffs

Peppermint marshmallows from @FluffyPuffPuffs

I’m quite glad she did, as her caramel marshmallow covered in chocolate and peanuts was amazing and the cinnamon sugar (aka Sugar & Spice) and peppermint ‘mallows were pretty tasty too. For the The Cotton Club’s cotton candy, I opted for the Ginger Beard – a mix of ginger bread and rum flavours – which while sweet (hardly surprising given its spun sugar), had a well balanced taste reminiscent of a dark & stormy.

Dot as the Cheshire Cat

Dot as the Cheshire Cat (photo: Ben Gan)

After getting our faces painted too (by a couple of incredible artist ladies – I may have stood there slack jawed watching them create Dot’s Cheshire Cat and turn one guy into Santa), we drifted over to the kitchen area where a table had been laid out – okay so we followed Karmen and Chiara as they always know where the good food is – and snagged a couple of seats. Shortly after that, TPA brought out a three course mini-tasting menu of flaky salmon with almonds, pot-roasted cauliflower with yoghurt, honey, and sultanas, and a vermicelli dish with coconut and Chinese greens. The cauliflower was the highlight with a tender melt-in-your-mouth center from being slow cooked for an hour contrasting with the crispy roasted crust. If this is just one example of TPA’s food, I’ll be back for a full menu tasting very soon!

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We ended the night with a some cheesy shots in the photobooth (really the night wouldn’t have been complete without that) before heading out for a late night bite at Dukes Brew & Que. Many thanks to The Proud Archivist for hosting, the vendors who plied us with treats, and of course the excellent Google Local London team for putting on a spectacular event!

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