Chef Ben Tish and The Stafford to launch new Sicilian, Moorish restaurant

The Stafford London is soon to launch its first independent restaurant project. Norma will be inspired by old school Italian restaurants, namely their hospitality and charm, and will feature a menu drawing on the food culture of Sicily, as well as cuisine with Moorish roots.

The hotel’s culinary director Ben Tish, best known for his traditional British food and excellent seasonal cooking at The Game Bird, said he and his team have been working on the Italian concept for some time.

“It’s a project I’ve been working on for a while – and am passionate about, as I love that part of the world,” Tish told Harden’s.

“The Moorish influence fascinates me. The restaurant will be very cool, relaxed but with a luxurious touch. There’ll be Moorish threads running through.”

An announcement said Norma will be “contemporary and provocative”, all the while “embodying the celebrated old-school Italian grand cafes” which let produce do the work.

Food will be staunchly Mediterranean, with an emphasis on the sea and seafood. A raw bar, where fish will be doused in olive oil and other flavours, will be central to Norma.

Tish told us: “The menu will feature a raw bar, where I’ll do interesting crudos, and there will be grilled meats and fish. It’s inspired by Sicily and southern Italy with a Moorish nod. There’ll be lots of spices, almonds, citrus, honey, and I’ll be using lots of vegetables as a focus.

“I’ll be doing versions of classic desserts – glazed brioche with gelato and chocolate sauce, cannoli.”

Tish gave us one complete dish: fresh pasta with almond cream and crab.

The new restaurant will be housed in a converted townhouse on Charlotte Street, split across three floors. The site will divide upwards into a restaurant, cocktail bar and private dining space.

The Stafford London’s general manager, Stuart Procter, said: “We are delighted to be launching Norma in the vibrant area of Charlotte Street, following the successful launch of The Game Bird in 2017 and the relaunch of our renowned American Bar in 2018.

“Norma will be a great addition to the already strong restaurant offering at The Stafford and we are looking forward to bringing the exceptional levels of service for which we are already known, to a brand-new concept and location.”

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