Sundays with an Italian Twist at the Beloved Norma

Everyone knows and loves Norma. It’s an institution. Some of the best bloody pasta dishes in London, hand’s down. So, imagine my elation, when I found out they would be launching their own twist on a classic Sunday lunch.

Sundays are for eating, relaxing with friends and sinking a couple of glasses of a deep red wine. Norma is the perfect backdrop for this. The stunning façade gives way to a labyrinth style restaurant, with a beautifully elegant bar and counter. Each area of seating is almost like a private secluded table.

We were seated in the best seat in the house, nestled in a cave-like space with a window onto the back of the restaurant, and an impressive wall of wines. Relaxed and at ease from our lovely wait staff, we settled in for the main event.

There are a few options, including a two, three or four course menus, priced from £40.00pp to £60.00pp – incredibly reasonable given its Fitzrovia location. Of course, we opted for the gluttonous four courses, and I know I say this a lot, but you really do get a lot of food – come hungry!

Snacks include classic Etna Olives, but if you’re dining at Norma, it would be a crime not to order the pillowy soft Homemade Focaccia served with Sicilian Olive Oil.

For first course, there is a selection of antipasti to choose from including a Sicilian Caponata, Chickpea Panelle or Spaghetti Fritters with Parmesan Sauce. We highly recommend the fritters. With a near burnt, but not quite, smoky taste, the application of the rich parmesan sauce and crisp of the spaghetti creates a memorable start.

Primi course follows and there are two pastas to choose from, the Pasta Alla Norma which comes with aubergine and a tomato-based sauce and a Strozzapreti, served with pesto trapanese, almonds and basil. Norma, as the queen of pasta, meant we couldn’t pick our favourite pasta dish, although the former’s tube like pasta, housed the rich sauce well – causing small bursts of flavour in each bite.

Onto the main event. I had heard legendary tales about the Mamma’s Beef Lasagne, so we of course ordered that. My guest ordered the Italian take on the roast which was a rolled Roasted Porchetta with sage, Sicilian roasted potatoes and smoked pork sauce. The portions were absolutely epic, at this stage we were getting full, but the flavour in each bite kept us going. The molten state of the lasagne gave way to rich cheese and tangy tomato. The mains were perfection and the portions lasted well for a very luxurious work lunch the next day. The porchetta proved a good twist on a classic roast, with a crackly layer of tasty fat.

Full to the brim we opted to share a dessert and went for the classic Norma Tiramisu. At first glance it looks a little like a chocolate mousse. It’s only when you dig your spoon deep, that you find the rich layers of cream, chocolate and booze – swiftly identifying this as the best tiramisu we had had, even including Italy!

Norma is simply glorious and the ideal spot to visit with family, friends or a partner. The multi-levelled restaurant also has a range of elegant and sophisticated private dining options, should you be looking for something more intimate or for a special occasion.

Cocktails are fantastic and seasonably themed with highlight Italian-inspired Spritz’s, and the wine list is enviable with many rich, deep Sicilian options. The Norma Sunday Lunch is available to book between 12:00pm – 5:00pm each week and is well worth a visit (or two!)

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