It’s a sadly rare occasion when Nordic cuisine is partnered with a little French influence.
Still, we should be grateful for small mercis.
Take Aster, for example – the grandiose, sumptuously decorated restaurant that’s recently joined the ranks at Nova Food in Victoria. Coming to you from the D&D restaurant group, it follows in the same vein of relaxed fine dining as Angler and Launceston Place; only sporting a unique fusion thanks to executive chef Helena Puolakka’s Nordic heritage and classical French training.
Befitting its home in the soaring glass complex, it’s a trio of venues in one; opening with –
Centred around a marble countertop surrounded by Scandinavian-styled café tables and chairs, the ground floor deli serves up authentically Nordic light bites for breakfast and lunch – think open-topped rye bread sandwiches, caviar on blinis, sea bass ceviche with lingonberry marinate, and a pick-and-mix bar of charcuterie and cheese.
For something bigger, however, head straight on up to…
A vast space sporting floor to ceiling windows overlooking the newly developed Victoria, the interiors here marry dappled blue walls with dark rose-coloured banquettes, brass fittings, and quirky, retro-styled chandeliers. Shunning the small plates trend, the à la carte expects you to know what you want and stick to it – though that might be difficult when mains include ballotine of chicken served with crayfish and turnips; pork cheeks and belly in a cider sauce; gnocchi drenched in walnut cream and smoked cheddar; and smoked bream fillet with courgettini and girolles. All of which you can finish off with hazelnut cake and raspberry mousse; lemon meringue with quinoa; or a mere chocolate planet.
With both parts of the world lauded for their fine spirits and brews, it’s only right that there should be two bars. Upstairs, you’ll find the Champagne bar – which serves four by the glass as well as vintage bottles and sparkling rosés – while downstairs sits the Aurora cocktail bar. It’s here that you’ll be able to order Nordic-influenced mixed numbers, like the ‘Cream of Iceland’, which blends Icelandic yoghurt with berries and coconut rum; or the ‘Brûlée’, which – with its vanilla, milk, egg, and crème brûlée-infused vodka – is essentially liquid pudding. Then, of course, there’s the Reindeer Old Fashioned, which twists the classic cocktail with a garnish of bourbon-washed reindeer bacon, and is exceptionally moreish…
No wonder Rudolph had a red nose.
NOTE: Aster is open daily (no dinner service on Sundays). You can make a reservation and find out more on their website HERE.
Aster | 150 Victoria Street, SW1E 5LB
Like Nordic cuisine? Try s’more (gasbords) at Aquavit