Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton heads to Six By Nico to suss out the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ menu…
We arrive at Six By Nico, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, and take our pews. It’s 6.45pm on a Tuesday and our fellow diners’ jovial voices and clinking wine glasses, toasting long-overdue get-togethers, suggest the weekend is upon us already. The place is buzzing. In truth, it shouldn’t feel unusual to see a booked-out restaurant midweek, but having gone without hospitality for over a year and a half, it absolutely does. Maverick chef Nico Simeone’s capital city joint has never felt so alive.
And for good reason. News is out about Chef Nico’s new ‘Guilty Pleasures’ menu, and it’s time to indulge in a few nostalgic favourites. Let’s face it, has there ever been a better time for such a theme than in the wake of a global pandemic? Comfort food reigns supreme in times like these. Roll on a cheek-pinchingly sweet Cola Float aperitif with an almighty kick of cherry liqueur.
If you are not yet familiar with Chef’s quirky culinary concept, he and his team offer up a new six-course themed tasting menu every six weeks, with the optional extra of paired wines for each dish. For vegetarians there is a separate menu, or you can mix and match meat and veggie dishes as you wish.
The staff sweep around the restaurant like clockwork, presenting us with our first nostalgia trigger – truffle mac and cheese croquettes with cornichon and white grape ketchup, with sourdough and chicken fat butter on the side. Cheese, carbs, and cultured butter so delicious you’d want to slather it on everything. What a way to start the night.
The first course consists of ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ – but not as I remember it. True to form, Chef Nico’s take on the old classic makes the mind boggle and the taste buds tingle. How do you fancy octopus and pork bolognese with fregola sarda and aged pecorino foam? Beneath the creamy foam lies a spag-bol so rich that it rivals that of my dear mum’s – and that is saying something.
‘Straight from the Can’ is course number two – consisting of ceviche of tuna, pickled watermelon, Tokyo turnip, bonito, dashi jelly and avocado purée – but I opt for the vegetarian version of green tomato gazpacho, pickled watermelon, coriander and lime which is zesty and refreshing after our savoury starter.
The ‘Lamb Kebab’ which follows is probably the only late-night ‘kebab’ that will ever pass these lips. Spiced belly of suckling lamb, pickled white cabbage, rose harissa emulsion and cucumber chutney – this is easily one of the tastiest dishes of the night. But the best is yet to come. ‘Fish supper 2.0’ with its scrabster cod that is flaky and juicy, caramelised cauliflower that is soft and sweet, curry sauce, caper and raisin is, miraculously, an improvement on the late-night chippy. This is the runaway winner.
My fellow diners adore course number five, the ‘Nico Fried Chicken’ with NFC Crumb, leg roulade, barbecue corn, hen of the woods mushroom, and black garlic emulsion which they reliably inform me is just like a Butta Burger, but better. A little salty for my taste, I look to the final dish of the night: ‘Nutella & Waffles’. When I think of guilty pleasures, I immediately think chocolate, so this hearty dollop of Nutella praline crémeux is just what the doctor ordered.
Deceptively simple names for a suitably surprising guilty pleasures menu. I can’t think of a better way of celebrating the end of lockdown and the relaunch of Edinburgh’s hospitality.
‘Guilty Pleasures’ will run from now until Sunday 31 October 2021 at Six by Nico Glasgow Finnieston, Glasgow Southside, Edinburgh City Centre, Manchester City Centre, Liverpool City Centre, Belfast Cathedral Quarter, London Fitzrovia as well as the new flagship restaurant at London Canary Wharf.
The menu is priced from £32 per person with the option to enjoy a selected wine pairing for an additional £26 at each restaurant.
Bookings are now open for all restaurant locations HERE.