Six by Nico Guilty Pleasures menu review
Guilty pleasures are usually little secrets, but this is the one to shout about, says Caitlyn Dewar.
My favourite foods are the ones you’re not meant to eat in excess, I always eat at the wrong times and I’ll admit that I do enjoy taking photos of things that I eat, so when I heard about Six by Nico’s latest theme which celebrates all these things, I knew it was going to be right up my street.
Guilty Pleasures is Chef Nico Simeone’s twelfth menu at his restaurant’s Hanover Street home and the fourth that I’ve been to.
If you’re not familiar already, it’s simple. Six taster courses on a themed menu which changes every six weeks. The menu itself doesn’t break the bank at £29 but if you want to pair your courses with wine it will cost an extra £26.
All of the staff are under the age of 30, and move like clockwork around the restaurant when serving up each dish and explaining everything that is in front of you. It’s trendy and fairly casual, but definitely a treat and an immersive experience which pulls you in right as you step foot into the establishment.
We started with the aperitif ahead of the tasting menu, not included in the price but only £5 more, which was a light and sweet cocktail with a kick of spicy cinnamon and juicy apple.
The first of six courses is Chippie Chips, which is made of pomme anna, black garlic emulsion, pickled onion, ewes cheese. As a first course it looks a bit underwhelming, a lonely chip with a dollop of sauce, but looks can be deceiving. The course is packed with a balance of sweet, salty, tangy and vinegary flavours which are incredibly moreish. I might not be swapping my post-night-out chips for this but it was a definite treat.
Beans on Toast is up next. A piece of crispy crab toast balances snow peas, broad bean pesto and a pickled quail egg on top which is a far cry from thoughts (my nightmare) of sodden bread and sugary tomato sauce. On the side is a slab of delicious crispy monkfish cheek cooked, as expected, perfectly. It is a portion of beans on toast I would pick over the traditional form any day.
Course three is Krispy Fried Chicken and the one I have been anticipating since I first saw the menu. The dish consists of pressed leg terrine, tomato ketchup, green tomato vierge, crispy hot wing and Kentucky hot sauce. Once, during my student days, I lived in a part of Texas where fried foods were a staple and fried chicken was practically a national dish, but I was left a little bit let down by this one. Although it tasted great, the hot wing which I expected to be the star of the dish was overshadowed by the terrine which was the heavier food on the dish.
I wasn’t disappointed for too long as we passed the halfway point and were on to Curried Cod. The slab of meaty cod was on a bed of goan curry sauce and came with caramelised cauliflower, caper & raisin puree, and a perfectly crisp onion bhaji. The dish, full of texture with a mix of flavours, was sublime. As far as the savoury courses went, this one got top marks.
For course five there was a deconstructed kebab, the lamb belly was rich in flavour with a crisp top layer and came with onion and rose harissa and lamb and bacon choucroute with a small flatbread on the side. This one and course four were the main events of the menu, but the satisfying crunch on the lamb belly pushed this one into first place.
The final course was Nutella, made from chocolate and praline cremeux, passionfruit and mango espuma and a hazelnut and spelt waffle which wasn’t thick and doughy. It was divine, with a balance of creamy chocolate and the tanginess of the passionfruit. My companion, who is not necessarily a dessert person, was left wanting more and my sweet tooth could have eaten it twice.
As a whole, this inventive tasting menu took me on a journey of favourites old and new just as the chef had intended, and the best part about it? It didn’t leave me feeling guilty after it all.
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