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Aster, Victoria

Having just returned from a weekend break in Copenhagen, we were very excited to check out Nordic restaurant Aster, the latest from the D&D group (Angler, Bluebird, Coq d’Argent, etc).

Located in Victoria’s buzzy new foodie hub Nova, Aster serves an array of Nordic-French dishes under Executive chef, Helena Puolakka.

Set across two floors, the expansive restaurant is all gold, marble and sexy light fittings. The wine fridges are a sight to behold with floor to ceiling Moet. We approve.

Downstairs you’re encouraged to work your way through the cocktail menu (try the Greenway with Matcha and basil) whilst upstairs is reserved for a la carte. We liked how the mezzanine level allowed all the buzz of downstairs to seep into your evening, whilst letting you focus on your meal. There’s also a separate little bar upstairs with a real retro vibe to it, complete  with bronze pineapples and brown leather stools. Even the bathroom has rose gold taps and we took a snap of the parquet flooring for home inspo.

Can we start by saying, the service at Aster is top notch. These guys just can’t do enough to help you. The sommelier expertly matched wines for us throughout the night, starting with a beautiful white chateauneuf du pape to go with our scallop starter. Served with celeriac, sea buckthorn and liquorice, the scallop slices are fanned out like a flower, complete with edible flowers on top so you don’t really know where one starts and the other ends.

Sliced quail had a nice crispy skin and felt relatively light alongside quinoa, beetroot and nuts.

We devoured the selection of warm bread – both sourdough and rye – with plenty of salted seaweed butter.

As a main we highly recommend the Arctic char – SO tender, with not a single bone throughout. Served with juicy, sweet Greenland prawns on top of cucumber ribbons and topped with dill, the flavours were perfect together. Even the sides were heavenly, the truffle potato, whilst not overly truffle-y was really creamy and decadent, a very good dauphinoise. Lightly sautéed spinach with pancetta and sourdough crumbs finished everything off nicely.

This well balanced food allows for dessert – the moon shaped panna cotta with basil shortbread was almost too pretty to eat but we somehow found it in ourselves.

*Traditional Crayfish Banquet*

As if that’s not enough, Aster will be hosting akräftpremiär or a traditional crayfish feasting dinner to you and me this 31st August. Traditionally held in August, the celebrations are held outside and feature numerous crayfish dishes, most commonly cooked with dill, paper hats, lanterns and bibs. Staying true to form, Aster are going to be hosting their feast (priced at £52) on the terrace, where you’ll be treated to a dozen Wiltshire crayfish served the traditional way with dill and sourdough, and copious glasses of Cote de Provence Rosé, followed by either creamed girolles, crispy pancetta and poached hen egg on brioche; hot smoked arctic char, pickled cucumber, with lace potato and prawn velouté or rump of lamb with provençale vegetables and lemon thyme jus. To finish off there will be a choice of Blueberry crème fraiche tart; Nordic mess or the signature dessert, The Marshall (rhubarb sorbet and Aquavit), to give a sweet ending to the evening.

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