Six By Nico: Liver filled doughnuts and mist filled domes, magical new Edinburgh menu will leave you happy ever after
Once Upon A Time... the service was fine, the food divine and the concept simply sublime and everyone left full and happy ever after.
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Okay, we'll have to wait to see if the 'ever after' bit comes true but right now I'm still smiling when thinking back on my first experience of Edinburgh' s Six By Nico, earlier this week.
The clue is in the name of the restaurant. Six. Every six weeks, chef Nico Simeone chooses a new theme for his diners and creates a six-course tasting menu around it. It makes for varied, if at times unexpected selection of dishes.
Once Upon A Time, which began service on Monday, finds each course named after a storybook fictional character who becomes the inspiration for the ingredients and flavour combinations on the plate.
An evening at Six By Nico, on Hanover Street, is a theatrical experience from the get go. From the classy, soft-touch matte covered illustrated menu/storybook, complete with the recipes for what you are about to eat in case you want to replicate them at home, that welcomes you on arrival to the presentation and delivery of the courses and open views of the pass where smoke guns fill glass domes with a wispy citrus mist... but I'm jumping ahead.
Before Course 1, named after Dickens' hero Oliver Twist, an aperitif arrived with some snacks.
Mary Poppins - A Spoonful of Sugar proved to be a light spiced rum cocktail with cherry cordial and little wooden spoon of cherry sherbet to make it fizz dramatically.
The snacks, under the heading Fantastic Mr Fox - Farmer Bunce's Liver and Doughnuts, consisted of tangy sourdough bread complimented by creamy whipped butter sprinkled with sea salt and a plump doughnut filled with liver mousse and bramble. I know. Me too. But it was light, tasty and hit the spot.
In Oliver Twist - “Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?”, the humble potato has Nico's spell cast on it to create something simple and effective.
Course 2, Paddington Bear - Marmalade, is a culinary showcase of ox cheek ragu and mushroom XO marmalade with truffle. My favourite of the evening and best eaten with your fingers.
Course 3 was Matilda - “Hey Dipface, Have A Carrot!” It's amazing what you can do with a carrot, here you'll find one baked tandoori style, another as a remoulade as well as pesto topped, and saffron pickled.
If Course 4, Danny Champion of the Word - Let's go Trout Poaching is a nicely subtle fish dish, Course 5, The Ugly Duckling - The Most Beautiful is more filling, rustic and homely.
Finally, Course 6, Beauty and the Beast - The Last Rose Petal is something very special, a Mascarpone rose bud housed in the aforementioned mist filled dome. I could live on these, although I'd soon be the size of a house.
It’s the perfect end to an entertaining evening at Six By Nico where Once Upon A Time proves an appropriate name for a quite magical selection of exquisite dishes.
If you fancy a visit yourself, the six course tasting menu (with vegetarian alternatives available) costs £32, add matching wines for another £27. Details here