Brunch on Saturday: Aster review and smoked bacon and cheese hash brown with duck egg recipe

Rachel Hosie visits the newly opened Aster restaurant in Victoria’s stylish dining area and we make cheese hash browns, topped with a duck egg and homemade brown sauce

Rachel Hosie@rachel_hosie
Thursday 07 December 2017 17:07
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Brunching out...

With marble tables, marble counters and clusters of marble-covered lights hanging from the ceiling, Aster in Victoria, central London, is an instagrammer’s dream.

Aside from the pretty white stone, the rest of the interior features a stylish and plush Nordic theme with comfy cushions inviting diners to sink into.

When we visited a few weeks ago, there was also lots of tasteful autumnal décor – an elegant nod to the season.

On a Sunday afternoon, the vibe was chilled and informal, but classy too. And that was even with some tables enjoying Aster’s bottomless bubbly brunch. On Saturdays there’s a resident DJ, so we imagine the atmosphere must be rather different.

For our first course (as we all know any decent brunch involves multiple courses), we both opted for the Egg Aster: avocado and poached egg on sweet rye bread, topped with hollandaise and super seeds – an enjoyable Nordic twist on a brunch classic. And it was perfection. The portion was the perfect size for a starter and there was plenty of topping for the amount of bread.

Cinnamon bun French toast with bacon is one of the options on Aster’s brunch menu

For my main course, I had the corn fed chicken paillard (which was juicy and far from dry), served with tangy fennel and al dente squash. It was a nice light dish – so light, in fact, that I was glad I ordered a side. My friend had the fish pie, which was well presented and topped with the creamiest of mash.

Aside from the fact that they needed prompting and reminding a couple of times, the service was good.

Simply irresistible cinnamon buns

At two courses for £21 or three for £26, Aster’s brunch offers affordable elegance.

And, having decided we didn’t need pudding, we were then (unsurprisingly) powerless to resist the counter of enticing baked goods on leaving.

Who can resist a cinnamon bun? A woman stronger than I.

Aster, 150 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5LB; 020 3875 5555; aster-restaurant.com; open daily

Brunching in...

Smoked bacon and cheese hash brown with duck egg and homemade brown sauce

Serves 4

Preparation: 20 minutes

Hash brown

2 large Maris pipers potatoes, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
30g plain flour
1 egg
100g Comte cheese, grated 
50g of crispy pancetta
handful of chives, finely chopped
salt and pepper 
200ml oil, for frying 

Squeeze water out of grated potatoes. In a bowl mix all the ingredients until evenly distributed. Shape into round 1cm thick discs. Heat about 5mm of oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat.

When oil is sizzling hot, place potato mixture into the pan. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, then flip over and brown on the other side. It should take at least 5 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with fried duck egg. Garnish with crispy pancetta and baby watercress. Serve with brown sauce (below).

Brown sauce

Preparation: 1 hour 30 minutes

500g pitted grapes 
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
75ml malt vinegar 
50g brown sugar
50ml Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 150ml cold water and 1 tsp salt. Cover the pan, simmer over a low heat for 50 minutes until the fruit softens. Cool for 30 minutes.

Transfer to a blender and process until smooth, then decant into containers while warm. Seal and store in the fridge.

Serve immediately with fried duck egg and garnish with crispy pancetta and baby watercress.

Recipe from galleylondon.co.uk

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