Launched alongside the Nova Development as a Scandinavian restaurant in 2017, Aster these days sports a more modern European menu in line with fellow D&D London offerings, though the all-day venue remains as hard-working as ever.
The café downstairs serves everything from breakfast and children’s menus to pre-theatre, Saturday brunch and Sunday roasts, while the first-floor dining room–all rust-coloured plush furnishings, bleached marbled walls and spindly lighting–has an à la carte at lunch and dinner.
For the most part, this is a kitchen that knows what it’s doing. To start, marinated yellowfin tuna married nicely with avocado and crunchy spring onions while simply plated confit duck and duck liver terrine, served with fresh brioche and a lively pear chutney, was faultless.
28-day dry aged beef fillet was the highlight of our dinner, cooked to perfection and served with green beans, béarnaise and triple-cooked chips. An over-salted grilled octopus that felt more like a starter than a main fared less well and was further let down by a lacklustre salad of chickpeas, olives and confit tomatoes.
Things picked up with dessert. Valrhona chocolate fondant was delightfully oozy and saved from over richness by a tangy passion fruit paté, though it was the salted caramel ganache which stole the show with butterfly flowers, lime beetroot jelly and a refreshing lemon sorbet – a playful riot of textures and artful splashes of colour.
Impeccable service includes some spot-on recommendations from the sommelier; we particularly enjoyed the refreshing Kekfrancos from Hungary with our fish dishes.
Cocktails in the elegant bar, meanwhile, promise a themed journey through London and beyond. The non-alcoholic Oslo Tour featured well-measured tartness and sweetness courtesy of elderflower and fresh berries infused in Seedlip Grove 42, though if you’re about to brave the train home, you may prefer something stronger. Try the Ziggy Stardust (Brixton), a wintry mix of pear vodka and cinnamon which will put a sprig in your step as you rush to Victoria.