New food-at-home platform allows for fine dining without setting foot outside the house.
Glasgow chef Nico Simeone has taken the British food scene by storm over the last two years, opening his ‘Six by Nico’ restaurants in locations across the UK. Just as he and his team were about to open on London’s prestigious Charlotte Street in March of this year, lockdown was enforced and the future looked bleak and uncertain not just for Simeone but for the future of restaurant dining across the globe.
His answer was to create a home dining experience called “Home by Nico”, incorporating everything that was so successful in the restaurants distilled into a box that could be cooked by the customer at home. The success of this venture has led Simeone to team up with childhood friend and marketing guru Michael Sim to create “Home-X”, an e-commerce site incorporating a chateaubriand experience, a vegan experience, a wine club, a cheese club, juices, and an online platform for other restaurant brands.
I was lucky enough to try the new “Home by Nico” Bangkok menu and the vegan experience “24 Carrot” last Saturday night. I was treated to a genuine sense of a chef’s craftsmanship in a box, with unique textures, colours and flavours that one simply could not find on a supermarket shelf. A Tom Yum soup to start was nutty, infused with chilli and sweet with subtle yet meaty dumplings. This was one of the best dishes I have had all year. The Panang Chicken Curry main was delicious too, with a rapturous toasted glaze. The vegan menu was just as accomplished. A Beetroot Poriyal was loaded with creamy tahini and zinged with pickled papaya. A Spiced Sweet Potato Massaman Curry wallowed serenely in mellow soured coconut cream. I have tried several of the “Home by Nico” experiences now and have been thoroughly entertained and impressed by all of them.
This is a personal and perhaps old-fashioned view: I miss restaurants. Longed for are the days when instead of going for breakfast and a coffee one can once again be catered for on an evening in elegant surroundings with friends and alcohol for company. Yet one thing is for certain, if Simeone can create dining experiences like this for customers in their homes, surely the occasional night in becomes more than palatable. His agility and dexterity to see an opportunity in a fragile and uncertain world where others are flailing and failing is testament to not only Simeone’s skill as a chef but also his business acumen. JustEat or any of the other delivery platforms do not consider the wishes of the customer quite like Simeone is doing. His desire to listen to feedback is key. The business seems to be growing and the product constantly improving. The result is customer satisfaction and an ever-swelling and increasingly appreciative clientele.
If other restaurants are not following Simeone’s lead, they should be. The boy from Glasgow who started in the family fish and chip shop, and shook up the UK culinary scene, has now introduced himself as a competitor to not only existing food delivery platforms but also to the overly powerful UK supermarkets. Restaurants globally should be looking at “Home-X” and seeing a bona fide opportunity to cement their own existence in unprecedented times.