Writer Emma Blunt takes Six by Nico for a six-course taste drive
A creative and unique concept restaurant devised by Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone, Six by Nico comprises a 6-course tasting menu that changes in vision and conception every 6 weeks.
With each iteration inspired by places, memories and ideas, Six by Nico is re-inventing the dining experience with experimental dishes in a minimalist yet inviting setting.
A culinary narrative born in Nico’s native Glasgow, the newly opened Fitzrovia fixture is the seventh location to open in the UK, situated in the foodie thoroughfare of Charlotte Street. The restaurant design fits perfectly within the Fitzrovia neighbourhood – a scattering of tables outside for al-fresco summer dining along with a bistro-style lively interior.
Inside, the 80-cover space juxtaposes industrial style exposed pipes with intimate, atmospheric lighting and informal seating. Taking centre stage, the theatrical open kitchen spans the length of the restaurant for an inviting look onto the pass where the imaginative dishes come to life.
The concept for this tasting menu was ‘Childhood’. Everyone has a food memory that whisks them back to their younger years. Whether that’s a favourite home-cooked meal, the school canteen at lunchtime or the food in grandma’s kitchen, taste plays a pivotal role in helping to resurface forgotten memories and this is the perfect menu to help you reminisce.
The 6-course tasting menu can be paired with wines for a truly sophisticated dining experience. The food itself is exquisite, with a faultless service to match. Each course, explained by the restaurant’s knowledgeable staff, is a version of your favourite childhood classic that has been creatively re-imagined with a fun, contemporary twist that will leave you full to the brim with delicious food and special memories.
There is both a meat version of the menu, and a vegetarian version available, and the talented chefs will also cater to any other dietary requirements, without sparing quality or flavour.
To start the evening was a lasagne dish – a firm family favourite for many over the years. The classic dish has been revamped in the form of a finely made Ox cheek ragu with herb pasta, topped with parmesan espuma and crunchy parmesan crisp. A simple dish that will invoke reassuring familiarity, with punchy flavours that leave you wanting more.
Course number 2, titled “Fish Fingers” was a beautiful concoction of fresh cubed salmon tartare, crunchy kohlrabi and pepper dulse. Zesty notes from a shaoshing dressing and the added crunch from the crisp topping made for a great twist on this much-loved childhood classic.
Another staple childhood meal, the humble “Egg and Soldiers” was delivered in the form of a slow cooked cacklebean egg encased with an outer crunchy coating. A creative celeriac ‘soldier’ was the perfect accompaniment to dip into the oozing orange yolk, and the addition of brown butter and celeriac espuma and a lovage emulsion provided warmth and comfort that worked beautifully with the dish.
Course number 4 was a personal favourite – Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Black truffle infused mac ’n’ cheese with caramelized cauliflower, aged cheddar and a gherkin ketchup. The earthiness and mushroom flavour of the black truffle complimented the sweetness of the gherkin ketchup, and neither were overpowered by the strong cheese pasta – a true feat for the chefs.
Next up was the “Duck Duck Goose”, and for anyone not familiar, this is a traditional childhood game, often a part of every child’s lunchtime on the school playground. The culinary evocation of this childhood memory involved XO flavoured duck breast served alongside a leg bon-bon, gnocchi, and a pumpkin and black garlic emulsion.
Every element of the dish was cooked to precision, from the pink duck breast, crispy bonbon and the addition of the intensely sweet, earthy black garlic flavour to bring out the rich subtleties of the dish.
To finish the tasting menu was another classic childhood game – “Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses” reimagined into a delectable dish of savarin crème, raspberry, lychee and rose sorbet, with the added crunch of meringue. This fresh and floral dessert was the perfect way to end a nostalgic evening.
The Wordrobe verdict
We often dream of returning to our childhood years, filled with reassuring familiarity and simplicity. Six by Nico has succeeded in transporting diners back in time, to rediscover our inner child through the recognisable reimagining of forgotten classics.
With every bite of this carefully curated menu, a story of childhood unfolds and cherished moments are recreated. But perhaps what’s most tantalising is the great price point – only £35 per person and matching wines for £33. This is affordable luxury you just can’t miss out on!
Make it happen
Where: 41 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RR
When: Available until Sunday 18th October 2020
How: Visit sixbynico.co.uk/london/childhood/ to make a booking.