SquareMeal Review of
This restaurant and café is the work of D&D London (Coq d’Argent, Launceston Place et al), spread across two floors at the Nova development. Aster is the domain of Finnish chef Helena Puolakka, who has created a succinct, mid-priced menu of delicate Nordic dishes. The seasonal selection brims with seafood, including a hot-smoked Arctic char scattered with Greenland prawns. The char was as fresh and plump as you would hope, deftly balanced with the earthy tones of aubergine caviar. Elsewhere, soft morsels of milk-fed lamb were served alongside lingonberries and stocky minced meat wrapped in cabbage, making for a tight combination of complementing flavours. All portions were on the light side (perhaps characteristically so for this cuisine), making Aster a restaurant for the delicate of appetite. The restaurant’s look is a disorientating mix of industrial and softer elements, but the ground-floor café feels more cohesive with its earthy tones and marble bar, where the menu covers the same ground more casually and adds salads, smorgasbords and pies. A sumptuous array of wines by the glass (including fine drops via Coravin) and pre-theatre menus make this a good shout if you’re catching a show nearby.