Still looking all incognito with no signage, Norah will pull you in with her enigmatic front doors if the smell of that skillet cornbread with rosemary honey butter wafting down Santa Monica Boulevard doesn’t get you first.
Once home to O-Bar (we still miss those blueberry mancakes shots) and then Don’t Tell Mama (nothing to write home about there, sorry mom), Norah has quietly taken over the trendy nightlife scene with all that they have. Quite literally. Everything we have experienced at this establishment, from the decor to the drinks, to the service to the food, has been something to tell our mama about. (Even seeing hunky Keith Urban meet friends at one of the long chef’s tables.)
First off, let us take a quick moment to just marvel at Norah’s front entry. Those doors. Those exquisite, dazzling wood doors. As we waited patiently for them to open for brunch, we admired their design and craftsmanship. We knew that they held back some amazingly delectable dishes for dinner, but what brunch secrets were locked inside? We were the first ones in on a Saturday morning to find out.
In the fresh morning light, the atmosphere and decor was upbeat and stylish. Accents of black, white, and tan are mixed with textures like marble counter tops and leather chairs at the bar. A herringbone pattern wood floor leads you to large abstract black and white artwork and carved wooden figurines on the walls that lend an African vibe, but then you look around and see metal bar stools, glass walls, and bunches of filament lightbulbs that almost scream industrial. The textures and patterns all mix so well together. Kind of like their drinks.
While the beer selection leaves much to be desired for us (it’s all canned and lacks variety), the mixed cocktails are more show stopping and more in line with their diverse food offerings. One thing that consistently stands out though is Norah’s level of service. For a place as trendy as this, every host or hostess has been warm and inviting. Those sly smirks and side-eye about how long their wait is from other restaurants has instead been replaced with a kind suggestion of checking out their two-sided bar while you wait. Once seated, the servers and bartenders are all smiles and suggestions in their patterned button-downs and dark jeans. Ask for Danny or Sean behind the bar for a well mixed cocktail and attentive service or ask for John, the restaurant manager, to share ravings of your favorite dish with him.
- Morning spritzer with aperol, vermouth bianco, peach, lemon, sparkling wine – $12
- Cast iron cornbread with rosemary honey butter – $8
- Cinnamon roll monkey bread with salted caramel – $8
- Squash & burrata with walnut puree, crispy quinoa, date caramel – $15
- Breakfast martini no.2 with gin, sticky wine, apricot, lemon, coriander, egg white – $12
While the carbs we ordered washed down well with our drinks, the squash and burrata had us at hello. The presentation was on
fleek point but the showstopper of the dish was the crunchy texture of the crispy quinoa mixed with the soft burrata. The squash made us feel like we were getting some healthy vegetables in at brunch (we’re definitely telling our mama about that) while the walnut puree and date caramel felt like we were cheating on dessert.
may we suggest
- Since Norah is super hot right now, we would suggest reserving a table for dinner early.
- Better yet, go for brunch since it wasn’t crowded and some of the menu offerings are the same at both brunch and dinner (we’re talking about you, cornbread).
- Sit at the bar for a more casual vibe and friendly banter from the bartenders. I asked to modify one of their mezcal drinks with tequila instead and Luigi whipped up a whole different cocktail worth craving that’s not on their menu. Grazie!
- Suggest Norah to impress both your foodie friends and your trendy ones.
- Order a bunch of their smaller, shareable dishes to get a feel for their style.
8279 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood 90069
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 11am to 3pm
Dinner: Daily 6pm to Midnight