Norma has now opened its doors in Fitzrovia, under the leadership of Culinary Director Ben Tish. The restaurant is the first independent restaurant project from the team behind The Stafford London and is inspired by the food and culture of Sicily, with particular emphasis on the Moorish influences of the island’s cuisine.
Norma is innovative and contemporary, whilst embodying warm and welcoming Italian hospitality and characteristic charm. The restaurant takes inspiration from the grand café culture of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and celebrates the richly influenced cuisine of the land. Moorish ingredients and produce – including a selection of Sicilian marsala, passito and limoncello – are championed by Ben, who is well versed in and passionate about the flavours of the region.
Housed in a converted characterful townhouse on Charlotte Street, Norma is split across three floors containing spacious dining areas, a cocktail bar and a private dining room. A crudo bar takes centre stage of the ground floor, showcasing an array of seasonal raw seafood. Guests can feast on Sicilian red prawns dressed with rosemary and orange; Monkfish with coriander, mint, crispy capers and peas or a platter of West Mersea oysters, available ‘au naturel’ or dressed with salted capers and fennel oil.
The main menu focusses on modern Sicilian-inspired dishes, ranging from anti-pasti and pastas, to larger plates of grilled fish and meat. Norma champions seasonal Italian produce, currently offering homemade pastas such as a signature alla Norma, Taglioni with sardines, fennel, raisins and pine nuts and Strozzapreti with pork, anchovy and orange ragu. Larger plates include Rose veal chop, black cabbage and marsala sauce;Whole spiced and roasted mackerel, kale and almond dressing and Grilled salt marsh lamb, salt-baked carrots, beets, olives and mint. Upstairs in the private dining room, guests can order family-style, sharing platters of fresh pastas, breads (Panelle and Focaccia) and dishes includingRoasted whole Loch Duart salmon and Spiced, slow-cooked shoulder of Salt Marsh lamb. The menu also boasts an array of desserts includingSlow-cooked cherries, almond milk panna cotta and cherry sorbet and a Chocolate, walnut, coffee cake with marsala ice cream.
To accompany Ben’s Sicilian-inspired menu, there is a comprehensive drinks list including a selection of Marsala wines. Originating from the small coastal town by the same name in Western Sicily, the fortified wine is a unique but authentic accompaniment to Ben’s sweet and savoury dishes. There is also a creative list of cocktails, named after significant battles and key moments in Sicily’s turbulent early history. The drinks champion produce and flavours so evocative of the region including cherries, vanilla and figs and liquors such as chinotto, vermouth and limoncello.