Norma – Sicilian Charm on Charlotte Street

Let me tell you about this little slice of Sicily hiding in plain sight on London’s Charlotte Street. Norma isn’t just a restaurant; it’s more like a teleportation device that whisks you straight to the heart of the Mediterranean without the need for a boarding pass.

Walking into Norma, you’re greeted by an ambiance that’s so warm and inviting, you’d half expect to see a Sicilian nonna in the kitchen, ready to adopt you over a bowl of pasta. The place is dressed to impress, with an interior that’s chic yet cosy, blending modern London vibes with Mediterranean touches. The three-story townhouse turned restaurant boasts a rich blend of Sicilian and Moorish textures, from intricately patterned tiles and bare brick walls to exposed light bulbs and sexy, intimate booths. It’s the kind of setting where you can’t help but loosen up, whether you’re in for a business lunch or a romantic dinner that might just turn into a midnight snack.

Onto the main event: the food. Oh, the food! If Sicily and North Africa had a love child, it would undoubtedly be Norma. Helmed by the outrageously talented Executive Chef Giovann Attard, this place celebrates the harmonious marriage of flavours from the south of Italy and the spice-infused dishes of North Africa. Talk about a match made in gastronomic heaven.

Every dish is a love letter from Sicily, crafted with a passion that’s palpable from the first bite. The menu takes you on a culinary grand tour of the island’s rich tapestry of flavours, with a nod to its Arab, Spanish, and Italian roots. You’ll find yourself diving into dishes that are both beautifully simple and intricately complex, like the caponata that’s a symphony of sweet and sour, or the pasta that’s been so perfectly twirled, it’s practically art on a plate.

Our Sicilian feast kicks off with the creamy Burrata accompanied by green asparagus, wild garlic, and red Datterini. And because one focaccia isn’t enough, we indulge in the doorstop-sized homemade version with sun-dried yellow tomato, olives, and oregano. Other must-try starters include courgetti and prawn arancina, slow-cooked pork shoulder and plump, aphrodisiacal Jersey oysters (see “midnight snack” reference).

Primi dishes come in two different portion sizes and feature conversation stoppers such as Pasta alla Norma, a decadent duck ragu, and an insanely delicious Cornish crab linguine with chili and lemon butter. Secondi options are equally divine; ‘Norma’ aubergine parmigiana, pan-fried cod with crispy polenta, and spiced cauliflower with smoked paprika, broad bean ragu, and plant-based superstraccia.

But what’s a Sicilian feast without the nectar of the gods? The wine list at Norma is a curated journey through Sicily’s rolling vineyards, offering pairings that elevate each dish to a whole new level of deliciousness. In the mood for a cocktail? Luck is on your side because there is not one but four different types of Negroni.

Desserts – if you can manage – are classics with a twist. Imagine dark chocolate and caramelised hazelnut tiramisu and cannoli with bitter chocolate ricotta, candied orange, and pistachio.

If you can’t, don’t fret. After all, that midnight snack awaits.

Norma is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday and on Sundays between 12 and 5pm, starting April 7th


8 Charlotte St., London W1T 2LS