The doom-merchants lamenting the arrival of the London chain restaurants to Edinburgh city centre should pay a visit to Six by Nico. The Glasgow chef Nico Simeone has opened restaurant number three in Hanover Street with a fresh and exciting concept. A six-course menu that changes every six weeks available from lunchtime until closing time for £28 plus £25 for matched wines. We visited on a Tuesday lunchtime to try out the “Chippy” themed menu, a version of which successfully launched his Glasgow restaurant.
We received a warm welcome at the door and were shown to our table towards the back of the restaurant. First impressions were that it smelled a bit like a chippy as a fryer was at full tilt in the open kitchen giving too much of an immersive experience. The menu choice is simple – six courses including a vegetarian version minus any food allergies. It’s a relaxing experience not having to make an actual decision and meant that the only choice we had was which wine to pick. The wine list has a good range of options, and we went for the Moulin de Gassac, Picpoul de Pinet. We will try the matched wine package next time.
CHIPS & CHEESE – Parmesan Espuma / Crisp Potato / Curry Oil
Our amuse bouche first course was a take on cheesy chips. A rich, creamy foam of parmesan sitting on top of a pile of what we used to call “chippy bits” at school. The crispy leftover bits that you coveted when you were at the end of the lunchtime queue – yum. The parmesan shavings and a swirl of curry oil added a pleasantly warm and comforting flavour.
SCAMPI – Scrabster Monkfish Cheek / Pea Ketchup / Herb Pesto / Bergamot
Next up was a bright and breezy plateful of posh scampi. The breadcrumbs had a perfect crunch, and the fish was deliciously moist. I was dreaming of some buttered bread and tomato ketchup – now if Carlsberg made fish finger sandwiches…The herb pesto was reminiscent of mushy peas with the translucent dots of bergamot adding a dash of Earl Grey to this “fish tea”.
STEAK PIE – Speyside Beef Shin / Caramelised & Charred Onion / Red Wine
The pacing of dishes is quite leisurely which gives you the opportunity to watch the kitchen-cams on the restaurant wall. You can see your dish being meticulously assembled before making its way to your table. The traditional Scottish steak pie arrives deconstructed with the most tender slow-cooked piece of Speyside beef shin sitting side by side with layers of flaky pastry. There are dots of something tasty (bone marrow?) like the gelatinous meaty gravy found in your favourite steak pie. The pastry is topped with crispy onions, and the glossy red wine jus had more than a hint of chippy brown sauce.
FISH SUPPER – Shetland Cod / Beer Emulsion / Pickled Mussels / Confit Fennel / Samphire
The main event was like opening up a newspaper wrapped cod and chips. The blast of vinegar from the pickled fennel, mussels and salt and vinegar scraps of batter hits your nostrils and transports you to a chippy tea by the seaside. The cod was cooked to perfection, and the whole dish tasted delicious.
SMOKED SAUSAGE – Ayrshire Pork / Salt Baked Celeriac / Caramelised Apple
We had almost forgotten about the smoked sausage as we both felt like we had already had our monies worth. It arrived with a flourish under a smoke-filled cloche, the dish appearing like a mirage through the wafts of fog. The shredded pork was encased in a crispy deep fried pasta shell with the green apple keeping things fresh. There is also a nugget of spicy black pudding and a wedge of baked celeriac – a busy plateful, but we enjoyed every mouthful.
DEEP FRIED MARS BAR – Chocolate Sorbets / Orange / Caramilla Nougat
Our dessert was a take on the ubiquitous deep fried mars bar, more popular with tourists than locals. It consisted of a scoop each of creamy dark chocolate orange sorbet, a rich caramel sorbet and a crispy ball containing gooey nougat. The candied orange peel and orange flesh stopped things getting too sickly, and we enjoyed it with our spectacular Irn Bru Nightcap Perfect Pair. This unlikely concoction of butter-washed fino sherry and Irn Bru reduction is not to be missed.
We loved our afternoon at Six by Nico so much that we have already booked our next visit. It’s fantastic value for money and while the changing theme-based menu might seem a bit gimmicky, with this quality of food who cares! It really is an excellent concept for repeat business. There’s a lot of fun to be had and you can’t wait to go back to see what Nico has got planned next. The only problem is getting a table before the theme changes again.
The next chapter: May 15th – 24th June
15th May sees the next chapter open – Cooking Wonka, where Nico promises to take you into a world of “pure imagination. ”
And it wouldn’t be Wonka without unwrapping a golden ticket with six lucky winning tickets to be found inside Nico’s Wonka Bar dessert. The six prizewinners will each win a dining experience at either the Glasgow or Edinburgh restaurant, so the Six by Nico Wonka ticket search is on! Good Luck!
How to book a table – but you better be quick!
Six by Nico
97 Hanover Street
Tel: 0131 225 5050
Many thanks to the team at Six by Nico for inviting us along to experience their opening theme – we can’t wait to be amazed when we come back in May!