Until this week, I had no idea that Nordic-French fusion cuisine was a thing. Neither did London Victoria rank particularly highly on my foodie radar. But all that changed after I was introduced to Aster, a chic new eatery and cocktail bar in the heart of the area.
It all started with an invite from my good friend, Mexico travel buddy and luxury lifestyle blogger Bonnie Rakhit (make sure you check out her amazing website The Style Traveller) to join her and her equally stylish pal, fashion influencer and jewellery designer Rosie Fortescue, for a girly lunch at this new foodie hotspot. Obviously I didn’t need asking twice.
The afternoon started off with a mini cocktail making class, during which Bonnie and Rosie bravely stepped behind the bar to mix up a refreshing Green Way concoction for the rest of the group. I say ‘bravely’ mainly because I would have been petrified that the cocktail shaker might accidentally open and spill its contents over their stylish threads. Alas, they were lucky and we soon wandered over to our table to eat. Also joining for the feast were Bonnie and Rosie’s peers Lorna Luxe, Ella Catliff, Kavita Cola, Stephanie Peers, Sharon Ridounath and Mariko Kuo.
Aster is a bright and modern space that combines city chic with hip details; think a cool blue and grey colour theme with splashes of orange, exposed light bulb installations, retro leather chairs at the bar and marble plates on the tables. There is even a huge champagne wall (read: fridge) behind the reception desk, and a private dining space set inside a giant wine display unit. It is the perfect place for after work cocktails, and we hear the free-flowing champagne brunch complete with a live DJ on Saturdays is pretty good, too!
Speaking of food, the culinary offering at Aster is really worth checking out as it is both innovative and totally delicious. Finnish Executive Chef Helena Puolakka has created a Nordic European fusion menu that boasts a lot of excellent fish and seafood, as well as some Mediterranean and French influences. For starter, the whole table shared the incredibly flavoursome Aster Cured Salmon with Pickled Cucumber on Crisp Rye, a perfect sharing plate.
I’m not usually much of a fish fan, but having tasted the spectacular salmon I chose the Skrei Cod baked ‘in paper’ with Fennel, Tomatoes and Onion for my main, a choice I certainly did not regret. We ordered a selection of sides to share, which included Truffle Potato (swoon), and Gnocchi with Celeriac, Winter Truffle and Swiss Chard. It was the perfect combination of light and indulgent dishes, with interesting combinations of flavours and textures.
For dessert, the restaurant spoilt us with a selection of sweet treats, including a delicious Victoria Sponge with Lingonberry Curd and Szechuan cream, zesty Skyr Parfait with Quinoa and Lemon Meringue, a Beetroot Sponge with Smoked Beetroot Sorbet and Chocolate and a Runeberg Cake with Poached Rhubarb. It’s a surprise I didn’t have to be rolled out of the restaurant afterwards, but I don’t regret a single calorie consumed.
The stylish surroundings and tasty food make Aster a great option for both networking and socialising, and I’ll definitely be back to check out the Saturday brunch! Thanks for a fabulous lunch, ladies!
Find out more at www.aster-restaurant.com.