In the whole time I’ve been doing Foodinburgh, I’ve never known a restaurant to cause such excitement. It feels like Six By Nico has dominated Instagram for weeks now. The idea is a clever one – 6×6 – six courses which change every six weeks. Add in a theme and a bargain price (£28), and you’ve got yourself a winning format – if the food is good…
The launch theme for Edinburgh was ‘The Chippie’ – clever Nico picking something everyone could relate to, I mean who doesn’t like a fish supper. Incidentally the next one is Wonka inspired and has divided members of the Foodinburgh Group.
I took my Mum along for this one, she’s never had a tasting menu and was keen to experience one – Six By Nico is ideal for people who want to do the tasting thing without the pomp of a more fine dining place.
Our first course was ‘Chips and Cheese’, a carb loaded drunken favourite for many. This version as you’d image was far more refined. A parmesan espuma sat atop some crispy potato matchsticks which reminded me of the crisps, and the garnish was a light curry oil. The dominant flavour was the parmesan and when we closed our eyes the whole dish nailed the chips and cheese flavour.
I was driving on the day we went but my Mum had the matched wines which was good value at £25, and the measures weren’t small.
The ‘Scampi’ was a delicate dish of breaded Scrabster Monkfish with pea ketchup and a clever bergamot gel which offered the vinegary element. This was one of my favourite courses of the six – it was clearly identifiable as scampi, but in a very refined form.
I’ve never had a Steak Pie from a chippie but I would if it tasted as good as this one. Speyside Beef Shin cooked low and slow in plenty of red wine. A tiny wafer of pastry was topped off with charred onion and onion puree to complete that familiar flavour of steak pie.
Next up, one of Britain’s most popular dishes – Fish & Chips, known of course as a ‘Fish Supper’ in Scotland. This is an easy dish to refine – take a nice piece of fish, get rid of the soggy batter, and give the garnishes a serious upgrade. Nico went a bit further with a couple of smoked mussels and the best scraps I’ve ever had. Good job.
If the theme is important to you then the ‘Smoked Sausage’ was the weakest link. I took the theme with a pinch of salt (excuse the pun) and so I wasn’t too bothered that this didn’t entirely resemble the traditional chippie version. It was a good dish, but very rich, another sharp apple element would have been welcome for me. Still, it was very tasty and I’m just being picky now.
It was pretty easy to guess what the dessert would be on this menu, of course it’s the Deep Fried Mars Bar. I have actually had a deep fried Mars bar but it was a homemade version (not by me, might I add). This dessert was so good it was a bit of an insult to call it a deep fried Mars bar. It was very sweet, but after the richness of the preceding course it was a good change of pace and finished off the meal nicely.
Six By Nico is a great way to access fine dining style dining at a very reasonable (cheap!) price. It is fun in its nature and the setting is informal – I think it will be very popular among a younger crowd and those who don’t want to spend too much.
Six By Nico
Location: 97 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ
Price: £28 for 6 courses, £25 for matched wines
Good for: Great value fine dining style food with fun and innovative themes