While I was in Brittany last month for a long weekend of sunshine and French food, Adrienne Fung visited Aster restaurant to review their Nordic Afternoon Tea. As you know, I am a huge fan of afternoon tea in London, especially when it’s a little bit out of the ordinary. The menu at Aster brings together Finnish flavours such as dill, herring, rye, cinnamon and lingonberry prepared with French techniques by Executive Chef Helena Puolakka. Read on to find out more!
I had the pleasure of visiting Aster with a friend the other weekend to try their Nordic afternoon tea set. Aster, a Nordic/French restaurant and café from D&D London Hospitality Group, just opened this past February in the Nova Food complex in Victoria.
Having spent some time living in Scandinavia and developing a deep appreciation for the food and culture, I was particularly looking forward to this visit to see what their unique take on afternoon tea would be. The ever so popular English afternoon tea can be found in abundance all throughout London, but it’s not every day you find one that strays from the classic.
Aster’s Nordic style tea set is a delightful change for those looking for something a little different. Before getting to the food, it’s hard not to appreciate Aster’s stunning restaurant space. The space designed by Russell Sage Studio is elegant and fun with thoughtful touches including gorgeous plant & floral displays.
Patrons are first welcomed by the lovely sight of Scandinavian pastries in the café including large platters of the quintessential Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar). Luckily for those that don’t have the time to sit for afternoon tea, Aster’s café offers their beautiful pastries to go.
The afternoon tea set, served daily from 3pm-5:30pm, includes a selection of 3 savoury open sandwiches, 3 sweet pastries, and a choice of coffee or tea (for just £15 per person). As a big fan of smørrebrød, I was particularly looking forward to trying the savoury portion of the tea set.
Our favourite sandwich was the Atlantic prawn skagen on sourdough bread. The prawns were sweet and delicate, and the generous addition of dill worked particularly well.
While my friend enjoyed the blackcurrant cured herring and egg sandwich on dark rye, I found it too fishy for my taste. Personally, a smoked salmon sandwich might have been more successful. While smoked salmon tea sandwiches are quite common in a classic English afternoon tea, smoked salmon Smørrebrød are also a Scandinavian classic so it could have been a nice way to marry the concept.
We also liked the pork roll, the last of the savoury offerings, although we weren’t fans of the aquavit mustard that accompanied it which had a strong taste of alcohol that was too aggressive on the palate.
For the sweet offerings, we had a cinnamon bun, lingonberry macaron, and blueberry pie made with rye pastry. The blueberry pie was my personal favourite. The pie was not too sweet and the rye pastry was buttery and moist. The macaron was also really nice although a bit on the sweet side for me.
The cinnamon bun was a welcomed addition to the afternoon tea set although it would have been even better if it was served fresh and warm.
Overall, we had a lovely time trying Aster’s afternoon tea. It’s a great option for those looking for a change to their normal afternoon tea routine at a reasonable price. While it might not be the best choice for those wanting a more extravagant three-tier tea stand and white linens type of experience, it’s perfect for a casual gathering among friends.
Shortly after Adrienne’s visit, the restaurant launched a new afternoon tea menu with a different savoury and sweet offering from the one reviewed here. You can find the new menu here.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.