Norma — London, UK
Given the success of its in-house restaurant, the Game Bird, it’s hardly a surprise that London hotel, The Stafford, has splashed out on another venture with its culinary director, Ben Tish.
This time setting up within a three-storey Georgian townhouse in Fitzrovia, Norma is a Sicilian restaurant, threaded with the Moorish influences of the island’s cuisine.
Inside, local firm Rosendale Design has created a thoughtful mood-board of textures and references, while avoiding obvious tropes.
The Moorish and Sicilian elements are present, but in discreet touches of encaustic tiles - inlaid with Islamic geometric patterns - mosaics, antiqued mirrors, and Verde Alpi Marble from Italy. These are more quietly offset by a more global palette that includes dining chairs and tables from Inside Out Furniture and bespoke lighting by Atelier Schroeter and Nocturne Workshop.
All this comes together to form a suitably warm and welcoming backdrop for Tish’s menu which showcases seasonal Italian produce that underscores his success with the Game Bird. Standouts include the crudo bar, which takes centre-stage on the ground floor; Sicilian red prawns dressed with rosemary and orange; the grilled pork chop topped with spiced quince and served with potatoes and black cabbage; or the array of house-made pasta, including the taglioni with sardines, fennel, raisins and pine nuts.§