As much of London goes up in flames, a visit to a winter wonderland isn’t a bad way to spend a sweltering August afternoon.

Grocer spies were yesterday in attendance for a gourmet dining experience in an “ice palace” complete with frozen trees, frosty sculptures and a sprinkling of snowflakes.

The launch of pop-up restaurant N-Ice marks the latest attempt by the British Frozen Food Federation to convince consumers that nosh from the freezer can hold its own against its fresh counterparts.

The impressive-sounding line-up featured signature dishes by Great British Menu’s Atul Kochhar and Simon Rimmer from Something For The Weekend – with everything served up made exclusively from frozen ingredients.

The food, when it eventually arrived, was solid rather than spectacular – not on a par with what you would expect from a top London restaurant, anyway. And the venue could have used a little more magic, resembling more an executive cool box than the promised winter wonderland.

Still, that was day one in a week-long event run by students from Westminster Kingsway College, so a few teething problems were understandable. And while it’s doubtful the enterprise will change many consumers’ long-held preconceptions (or misconceptions) about frozen food, it was, at the very least, a welcome distraction from the sound of breaking glass just down the road.