SM Exclusive: D&D London launches Aster on 25 January

SM Exclusive: D&D London launches Aster on 25 January

Updated on • Written By Neil Simpson

Close map
SM Exclusive: D&D London launches Aster on 25 January

Victoria’s huge Nova development is nearing the end of construction and inside, there will be 17 new restaurants. Yup, seventeen. Restaurant group D&D London has secured a whopper of a space, a ‘Nordic French’ café/wine bar, restaurant and cocktail bar called Aster, opening on 25 January.

Words: Neil Simpson

Aster restaurant D and D London Victoria Nova Square Meal Squaremeal

Aster will be spread over two floors, with a ground-floor café becoming a wine bar by night, while above will be the split-level restaurant and cocktail bar. Executive chef Helena Puolakka (below) hails from Finland and is promising to combine a “Nordic no-nonsense approach to flavour with exquisite French technique.” Puolakka worked for D&D London as executive chef at Skylon for six years until 2013, so Aster is the chef’s opportunity to draw on her heritage and personality to create an unusual menu.

Aster London restaurant chef Helena Puolakka

Puolakka’s upbringing shapes her uncomplicated, homemade-style cooking. Diners can expect her French culinary training and love of Southern France to inform the food too, resulting in the likes of juniper-smoked turbot with tender leeks and butter sauce, or beef meatballs à la Lindström (a Swedish dish of meatballs studded with chopped beetroot). Significant veggie and vegan options are also promised, as well as a tasting menu of fish roes, blinis and matching vodkas and aquavits (yes please).

Aster London restaurant

Downstairs in the café and deli, you can expect a selection including fish roe with pickled herring and wild berries, alongside cinnamon buns and open sandwiches of house-cured Var salmon on rye bread.

Aster London restaurantAster London restaurant

Helena’s take on Aster is that it will reflect “the craftsmanship, the presence of handmade food and local produce that has always been a key part of Nordic daily life.”

Aster London restaurant

Nova itself will have a mind-boggling amount of eating options, including an Italian from Jason Atherton, Will Ricker’s new American BBQ project The Stoke House, ETM Group’s Greenwood and the 150-cover Rail House Café from Riding House Café co-founder Adam White. There’s also (deep breath) Sticks ‘n’ SushiFranco Manca, Jamie Oliver’s second BarbecoaBone Daddies and Timmy Green.

D&D London was founded by Des Gunewardena and David Loewi 10 years ago this autumn and it’s still growing: two more London projects for 2017 are soon to be unveiled, as well as a rooftop project in Manchester’s Spinningfields district and another in Leeds. D&D is also investigating Amsterdam, Dubai and Lisbon. Over the past 10 years, the group has served enough flutes of Champagne to fill two swimming pools – we’ll drink to that.

This time last year, D&D London launched its King’s Cross restaurant German Gymnasium and we were there to film it: watch our SquareReel at German Gymnasium video here.

To find out more about Nova Victoria, visit

This article was published 3 November 2016

Join SquareMeal Rewards

Collect points, worth at least £1, every time you book online and dine at a participating restaurant.

Start Collecting Points

Already a member? Sign in