Editors-in-Chief Holly and Jordan review Six by Nico's latest menu: Circus.
Six by Nico is known for their inventive and inspired menus. With their latest theme being “circus”, the waitress described the conjuring of the menu as a product of the "mad chefs' imaginations". With the return of indoor dining, Six by Nico has come back determined to continue its history of being one of the top restaurants in Glasgow. Both Editors-in-Chief paid a visit to their restaurant to try out their newest launch.
Waffles & Ice Cream: Goats Cheese Mousse / Compressed Peach / Potato Crisp
In their first course, gelato is swapped for a goat's cheese mousse and spongy pancake batter for a potato crisp. My tastebuds are akin to a five-year-old's in that I'm much more of a dessert rather than starter sort of person, so having sweet swapped for savoury was always going to be jarring for a sugar fanatic - but the combination of the salty potato crisp, nutty goats cheese and sharp fruity complements flowed together well.
Candy Butchers: Beetroot Tartare / Burger Sauce / Aged Parmesan / Pickled Cucumber
I can always appreciate when the vegetarian menu embraces using vegetables rather than fake meat but I wouldn't usually pick beetroot as the base for an ode to a cheeseburger. The flavours of the burger sauce, beetroot, and the turnip were incongruent and struggled to resemble a cheeseburger. That being said, what saved this dish from being too mushy was the addition of the potato crisp throughout. This dish was less of a cheeseburger and more of a BBQ side salad.
The Illusionist: Herb Gnocchi / Samphire / Crushed Artichoke / Caper & Raisin Puree
The real star of this seaside-inspired dish was, shockingly, not the herb gnocchi - which had more of a cheesy twang to it rather than a fresh one - rather, the crushed artichoke, samphire and caper and raisin purée stole the show. Salty but sweet, these three ingredients come together for a beautiful flavour harmony.
'Cannon'loni: Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni / Smoked Tomato Compote / Baby Courgette / Tarragon Pesto
Whilst this dish doesn't boast the most appetising of appearances, the flavour profiles at stake are certainly strong - though at times they don't work incredibly well together. The smoked tomato compote and the spinach and ricotta cannelloni is an odd choice that misses the mark. However, I could eat the bergamot gel dotted around the plate with a spoon.
The Greatest Show: Smoked Cap Mushroom / Black Truffle Emulsion / Crispy King Oyster / Wild Garlic
The most theatrical of the dishes by a long shot, this one lives up to its name. However, past the smoke and fanfares, it was probably my least favourite dish. The smoked cep mushrooms are delightful, but few and far between on the plate.
The Grand Finale: Peanut Butter Parfait / Rhubarb Compote / Blood Orange / Candyfloss
If this menu was just this dish six times, I'd have been more than happy. My only complaint was there wasn't more of this. Perhaps I'm easily impressed, but the chef's creativity in creating monkey nuts out of peanut butter parfait had me knocked for six.
Overall: At times, it felt like the concept was prioritised over the food. With that being said, Six by Nico certainly offers a meal not to be forgotten. From smoke clouds to creative presentation, this restaurant fuses fun and fine dining, a task not for the fainthearted. Perfect for those who love eating with the eyes as well as the stomach since this restaurant is sure to impress.
Waffles & Ice Cream: Chicken parfait with compressed peach served with a potato crisp.
The parfait is both salty with deep undertones, but matched with a sweet fruity flavor of the peach. Overall while these pair well, it leaves more to be desired as the pairing taste of the start of a great sweet and salty combination the dish is named after, but the darker tones hold the dish back from achieving.
Candy Butchers: Beef tartare served with burger sauce, topped with aged parmesan and pickled cucumber.
The clear goal of this dish is to remind you of a cheese burger, and achieves this very well, serving as the most elegant deconstructed cheeseburger you could ever desire. The tender beef tartare with capers provide a savory base that pairs well with the vinigarieness of the glorified pickles and the dry and sharp taste of the parmesan. The sauce rounds the dish out by providing a neutral base to intensify each flavour.
The Illusionist: Petite chicken ballotine, with crushed artichokes with caper and raisin purée on the side.
The ballantines are salty but extremely tender, making them seemingly melt in the mouth, with the purée and the potato base. The dish serves to remind one of the scallops, which was the clear goal seeing as it was served in a scallop shell. It shockingly does this well, even giving a seafood aftertaste. The dish was among the best served, but the artichokes are largely forgotten, serving more of a garnish.
a'Crab'atics: Sole topped with smoked tomato compote and bergamot gel served paid with a crab tortellini and bisque.
Perhaps the weakest of the dishes. The sole has a blandish neutral taste that fails to match the striking contrast of the compote, but gives an unpleasant and harsh set of aftertastes between a seafood dish and dark undertones of the tomato base. The highlight of the dish was the tortelli which served well on its own, with the bisque having a neutral base to compliment the crab taste.
The Greatest Show: Smoked breast of duck with wild garlic and a black truffle emulsion served with a duck leg ragout.
From the moment the dish is served, with great fanfare of smoke rolling out of the glass bulb it's served in, to the last bite, you know that this is supposed to be the best dish, and thoroughly lives up to that expectation. The duck is tender and provides a great base for the sharp taste of the sour emulsion leading to a savoury experience like no other. Where the main dish gives a sharp experience of this flavour combination, the pairing is emulated with a more neutral taste of the ragu with a savoury and creamy side in the ragu.
The Grand Finale: Chilled peanut butter parfait in the shape of candy peanuts along with rhubarb compote and blood orange sauce and mixed fruits, all topped with candy floss.
After such a great dish, it might be hard to follow with a great finisher, but this dish does just that. While many might be apprehensive about the earthy tones of peanut butter paired with such tart accompaniments, this dish proves otherwise. While one might assume that it takes after a PB&J inspiration, the taste is vastly different, making the contrasts work on a whole other level. The chilled peanut butter with a deep, dark, but sweet undertone is almost relieved by the refreshing taste of the fruit it's paired with.
Overall: I think this menu is great. It gives a near Michelin star quality restaurant, with a night on the town value. There are some shortcomings, but it's easily ignored when you look at the value for money that you get. I would recommend this if you want to show your parents are around or want to impress a date but don't want to go into the overdraft, as it is £32 for the entire tasting menu mentioned here. While the circus was the clear inspiration for the names and themes of the dishes, the flavours were an eclectic collage of random ideas which could have been better served by a more central concept throughout the meal.
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