What: The first independent restaurant from the culinary team behind The Stafford London in St James, which is inspired by the food and culture of Sicily. Housed separately from the hotel within a three-floor townhouse on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, Norma also features a cocktail bar, private dining space, and dedicated crudo bar.
Who: Norma is being overseen by Tish, who also manages the The Stafford London's Game Bird restaurant and American Bar. The opening marks a return to Mediterranean cuisine for the chef, who spent 11 years at the Salt Yard Group, where he launched the Dehesa, Ember Yard and Opera Tavern tapas restaurants and Italian site Veneta.
The food: Tish has placed particular emphasis on the Moorish influences of Sicily’s cuisine. With a focus on small plates and sharing dishes, the menu features contemporary antipasti and pasta sections, as well as larger mains of grilled meats and roasted seafood. There’s also the restaurant’s crudo bar, which serves a separate raw menu. Prices are at premium, with antipasti dishes ranging between £10 and £14 and larger options averaging £20 to £30 per plate.
On the menu: The crudo bar features Cherrystone clams (£4 each) and West Mersea oysters (£4.50 each) sold individually, as well as a wild sea bream dish with pomegranate and bottarga (£8). Homemade pasta plates are all £9 and include the restaurant’s ‘signature’ alla Norma sauce; and strozzapreti with a pork, anchovy and orange ragu. At the top end of the pricer large plates menu is a rose veal chop with black cabbage and marsala sauce (£31); whole spiced and roasted mackerel with kale and almond dressing (£23); and charcoal-grilled beef bavette with grape must, borlotti and Romano pepper (£27). Desserts include slow-cooked cherries with almond milk panna cotta and cherry sorbet (£8); and a chocolate and walnut coffee cake topped with marsala ice cream (£9).
The vibe: Befitting The Stafford’s stately image, Norma’s interior design boasts a rich, luxury appearance. The main downstairs restaurant feature plush seating and marble-style table tops, illuminated by a combination of amber hues and natural lighting. Upstairs includes further seating alongside the cocktail bar, with the crudo bar front and centre by the restaurant’s entrance.
And another thing: Norma isn’t the only high-profile hotel restaurant opening in the capital this month. Earlier this week Adam Byatt, who recently took over from Heinz Beck as chef director of food and beverage at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, launched Charlie’s. Meanwhile, Jason Atherton is set to open The Betterment next week as part of his role to oversee the ‘restaurant and lifestyle offering’ at the newly rebranded Biltmore hotel on Grosvenor Square.
8 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LS