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November 5, 2018

Bottomless Brunch at Aster Scandi Style

Aster restaurant dominates the newly swankified area by Victoria station: an imposing, glass beast that exudes luxury where you can imagine high-powered meetings taking place and lots of secrets.

Its plush interior is scattered with private booths and we were seated slightly above the main area giving us an optimal view of the vast marble-topped bar and the elaborate floral installation that cradles the two-floor space.  You definitely feel cosseted and spoiled here.

Pleasantly at odds with the high-end City Vibe is the Nordic inspired menu: the offerings are stripped back, simple and clean.  We visited as a party of three for a pre-wedding celebration on a bright autumn Sunday afternoon and Aster was the perfect backdrop for a long boozy planning session and last minute treat.

The Scandi bottomless brunch is varied with dishes like herring and rye bread mixed with more traditional brunchy fare like Eggs Benedict and smoked salmon.

After being seated we started with a Bloody Mary.  Punchy, potent and peppery, it was a terrific reviver.  Suitably fortified we chose our first course.  We had the Eggs Aster: grilled leeks, poached egg with wholegrain mustard Hollandaise on toasted oat and the Heritage beet salad with goat’s cheese and walnut dressing.  The cheese was lovely and creamy and the beetroot tart and firm – a perfect starter for those with a smaller appetite.

To follow we chose the Rib-eye with Bearnaise sauce – a hefty, juicy piece of meat with a side of triple-cooked chunky chips great for mopping.  We also tried the smoked chicken breast with buttermilk celeriac – a simple but flavourful dish with the bird cooked just right and accompanied by crunchy French beans and fruity braised red cabbage.  Our third main was roasted salmon with squash and smoked sour cream.  Again, simple flavours that blended beauteously.

Bottomless brunch isn’t complete of course, without pudding ,so after a few more glasses of perfectly chilled bubbles, we chose the lime and chocolate mousse cake with cardamom glaze.  Scandinavian desserts can be quite unusual, so expect something a bit challenging.  This variation of cheesecake was quite robust and heavy so would perhaps be better to share.  Nevertheless it was tasty and it’s better to be presented with too much rather than too little.  No one like a stingy dessert chef.

We also went for the marzipan cocoa Chantilly and lingonberry meringue – like a posh Scandi pavlova.  Light and airy with the rich contrast of the Chantilly cream.  The service at Aster is sublime.  Attentive without being overbearing and when we dropped into conversation very subtly there was a wedding a-foot we were presented with a surprise extra pudding and one more delicious glass of fizz.  So if it is a special occasion, Aster will go above and beyond.

Their Chef Patron is Helena Poulakka, a Finnish whizz who celebrates uncomplicated cooking with distinctive flavours.  She sums up her style as Nordic / French and this is evident not only on the menus but in Aster’s unique décor and vibe.

As the days draw in and the afternoons get nippier, Aster is a spot on destination for lengthy brunches that can easily slip into supper time.

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Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Hayley Coyle

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