Greetings! I just returned from a two week trip back home to America, where I got to spend time with friends and family, and of course stuff myself silly with delicious food at every stop! LA was the last stop on the list, and my amazing college friends flew in from NYC and Chicago for a big reunion, so we had to plan some pretty special meals to celebrate all being back together for the first time since 2013. The first of those meals was at Norah, a West Hollywood spot that only opened a few months ago. The space is airy and large, yet still feels intimate- a feeling that is definitely enhanced by the friendly and unpretentious service. The cocktail menu is not one to be missed- we had a few different drinks off of it throughout the night, and loved every one of them. At our server’s recommendation, we started with the cast iron cornbread with rosemary-honey butter, and we were definitely glad that we did- it was warm, indulgent and the perfect way to kick off a meal.
Next up was a play on a panzanella salad- heirloom tomatoes with whipped ricotta, grilled bread and canellinni beans. I loved this dish, as the textures brought just as much to the table as the vibrant flavours, and will definitely try recreating it at home once tomatoes are back in season over here! We also had the cauliflower popcorn, which was a delight…I mean, what’s not to love about fried cauliflower smothered in homemade hot sauce?
We decided to forego main plates and instead share more of the small plates because there were so many things we wanted to try, and that was definitely the right decision, as the next two plates out were our favourites, and they couldn’t have been more different from one another. First was a gnocchi with roasted cauliflower cream, oyster mushrooms, crispy kale and hazelnuts- the dish was incredibly rich and had a decidedly wintery feel about it, which we loved; it was truly comfort food meets fine dining. The next dish out was my absolute favourite of the evening (and possibly of my entire two weeks in America)- uni butter poached shrimp. The shrimp was cooked to perfection, but the star of this dish was that buttery broth. We were actually eating it with a spoon by the end- it was rich, flavourful and punctuated by little pieces of smoked tomato and spring onion…we joked about going back and just ordering bowls and bowls of that dish, and lets be honest- if I still lived in LA, I could see myself doing that on a weekly basis. A dish that is absolutely not to be missed.
Our final savoury dish also highlighted our only fault with Norah. We ordered a Charcuterie of the Sea board, however it came out at the same time as the butter poached uni, making them the last dishes of our savoury courses. While everything on the board was delicious (I particularly enjoyed the shrimp boudin), it simply came out too late in the meal, and we didn’t really feel like digging into a charcuterie board at that point. If it had come out in the order of the menu, as the course after the cornbread, it would have been much more enjoyable.
We finished our meal with a beautiful strawberries and cream panna cotta, which was complimented by pistachios and cardamom streudel. The cardamom crunch was beautiful, and while strawberry and cardamom aren’t two flavours that I’ve ever thought of pairing together, they worked together extremely well, and I look forward to experimenting with the two in the future. We left Norah satisfied (and already craving another bowl of uni butter poached shrimp!), and very happy with our choice to try a new spot in LA instead of revisiting one of our old college haunts. Norah is a fantastic addition to the LA dining scene, and I highly recommend giving it a go.
Pretty in Pink, Encumbered Cucumber & Stoned Fruit
Cast Iron Cornbread with Rosemary-Honey Butter
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Grilled Bread, Whipped Ricotta & Canellinni Beans
Cauliflower Popcorn with Chickpea Tahini and House Hot Sauce
Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower Cream, Oyster Mushrooms, Crispy Kale & Hazelnuts
Charcuterie of the Sea- Octopus Torchon, Smoked Trout Rillettes & Shrimp Boudin
Uni Butter Poached Shrimp with Smoked Tomato, Scallions, Cilantro & Toast
Strawberries & Cream – Panna Cotta with Cardamom Streusel & Pistachio