I love afternoon tea. Dainty sandwiches, cakes, scones, tea and usually a glass of champagne. What’s not to like! Today I am sharing an afternoon tea with a twist – the Nordic Afternoon Tea at Aster in Victoria, London.
After leaving university my first job was selling delegate spaces at big global financial events. I mean, how rock n roll! Our office was in a tatty building in Victoria, next to Cardinal Place, which was only just being completed. That was nearly 10 years ago! Victoria has almost changed beyond recognition since then. A big part of that change has come from the Nova project. As well as new offices and flats, there are now a number of hot new restaurants there too. One of those is Aster.
I have enjoyed many an afternoon tea, usually for some kind of celebration or treat. It’s a rather saturated market in London so it’s great to see somewhere providing a different take on things. Oh and not to mention the beautiful interiors at Aster! There are gold pineapples.
Executive Chef, Helena Puolakka, is serving Nordic cuisine from her Finnish heritage complemented by classic French dishes and techniques that she has refined over her career. And this is where the Nordic Afternoon Tea is born!
The Afternoon Tea
What I liked most about the afternoon tea was the simple menu that left you feeling completely full but not exploding out of your jeans like so many do! Usually you will receive plates of sandwiches, cakes and then scones. And we all know in reality it’s very hard to consume it all. I mean, I do love the challenge but it’s very rare I can fully enjoy it all because there is just so much food.
The Nordic Afternoon Tea at Aster is just £20 and includes tea. You can add a glass of champagne for £7 and cocktails from £10.50. The menu starts with three savoury dishes: atlantic prawn skagen on sourdough, blackcurrant herring and egg on dark rye and pork roll with aquavit mustard.
Skagen is a Swedish speciality which is normally prawns served on toasted bread. The bread is not toasted at Aster keeping it softer and lighter for the fresh and zingy prawn topping. They did not skimp on the prawns either – the sourdough came fully loaded!
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything special from the pork roll, their version of a sausage roll, but it was delicious! The mustard was so moreish. Aquavit is a flavoured spirit that is produced mostly in Scandinavia, where the main spices added should be dill or caraway, making it the perfect partner for the sausage.
If I had to pick a favourite (though I really did love all the savoury dishes) it would have to be the blackcurrant herring. This is because I love herring. Growing up my mum and I would buy a tub of the onion and pink peppercorn herring from Waitrose deli counter every week. It would last about 10 minutes as we would each have a fork and eat it straight from the pot! And the herring here did not disappoint.
Now onto the sweet stuff!
On the day of our visit the menu included their infamous cinnamon knot, blueberry pie and lingonberry macaroon. The macaroon was spot on, and I loved the slight tartness from the lingonberry. I could have eaten the whole lot.
The blueberry pie made with a rye case didn’t really do it for me. The flavour and texture actually reminded me of a nutri-grain bar! It wasn’t bad it just felt slightly bland compared to all the other great treats.
We were lucky enough to have Helena show us how to make their cinnamon knots. They were light and utterly delicious and we got to take some home that were still hot from the oven. I don’t know how I did it but I managed to get one the whole way home for the husband! What a wife.
I really enjoyed the Nordic Afternoon Tea at Aster. It serves simple and delicious food in a beautiful setting. It’s nice to see a different take and a less ‘bread heavy’ menu. And it’s probably one of the most affordable afternoon teas in London right now at £20.
The afternoon tea is available from 3.00pm – 5.30pm everyday of the week in their Cafe. Also, if you book in April they are offering a free glass of bubbles – no excuse now!
Do you have a favourite place for afternoon tea in London?
150 Victoria St
*I was a guest of Aster, but as always views remain my own including all the herring loving.