We’ve just returned from another London Victoria brunch at Aster, a further venue from D&D London, and were very pleased. D&D also run a large number of other upmarket places in London and abroad. We particularly liked the German Gymnasium (short review included at bottom of this post) at St. Pancras and the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell for their great atmosphere, and also enjoyed the views from Coq d’Argent and Madison in the City. We’re normally not great fans of huge corporations running anything, certainly not restaurants, but these folks do it so well!
The outside seating looked very welcoming with nice flowers and decorations, but we chose to be seated in the very stylishly furnished 1st floor main dining hall, designed by Russell Sage Studio. It oozes some of the elegant atmosphere of an upmarket 1960ies New York 5th Ave. diner while at the same time looking very modern. There was only one other table taken when we arrived at 11am, however, the room quickly started to buzz with bubbly bohemian brunch-fanatic ladies, most in their twenties and thirties. I was literally the only male person besides a few of the waiters, but that’s fine in my book. My undivided attention was focused on MsB and our lovely brunch, of course.
We went for the three-course option at £26 a pop. MsB chose Egg Aster, Brixham crab, seeded sourdough, hollondaise for starters, confit duck leg, white cabbage, Madeira vinaigrette for mains, and almond cake Runeberg, poached rhubarb, chantilly for dessert. I went for herring, caviar, and potato blinis for starters, the Aster hamburger with smoked cheddar, pickles, and Bloody Mary ketchup for mains, and the apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. For coffee we tried their macchiato, their latte, and their espresso. My wife also tried the red grapefruit juice, while I went for a Bloody Mary.
I had previously enjoyed a light late lunch with three varieties of herring at Aster and knew that we weren’t going to be disappointed, but the taste, combination of flavours, and presentation still surprised us pleasantly.
Service was very attentive, quick, professional, and friendly. By London standards the coffee was more towards the upper end of the scale, even though, just back from Italy, it didn’t exactly pull our shoes off. The grapefruit juice was fabulous. The Bloody Mary decent and without any specific twist.
We thoroughly enjoyed our starters. I had not had blinis in a very long time and decided right here and there that I was never going to go without blinis for more than a month or two. (We had fallen in love with these fine, thin, small Russian pancakes during our visit to St. Petersburg a long time ago.) The herring and caviar went very well with them. My wife loved her egg with crab meat and hollandaise sauce, while I very much preferred the stronger, heartier taste of my starter.
The burger was one of the best ones I had had in a while, with the smoked cheddar and Bloody Mary ketchup adding a beautiful note and the cucumber slices (instead of pickled gherkins) and an unusual choice of two bits of leavy salad providing for a nice (salad and vegetables are good for you!) cover-up of our indulgence. MsB’s confit duck leg was very tasty and went well with the sides and vinaigrette.
The desserts were amazing, too. I especially enjoyed the taste of rhubarb which I had not had in a while. At £85 for the two of us, this was more on the northern end of the price scale for us, but worth every penny. We will definitely be back soon. Looking for more London Victoria brunch reviews? Click here for our review on next-door Timmy Green. Further London brunch reviews here (Prufrock Cafe), here (Ffiona’s, don’t go), and here (Duck & Waffle).