Credit: Six by Nico

‘Guilty Pleasures’: Nico’s new menu leaves you feeling anything but remorseful

By Lucy Dunn

Editor-in-Chief Lucy Dunn takes us through the newest fine-dining experience Six by Nicos has to offer.

What are your guilty pleasures? I was asked to think of a couple myself before heading into Six by Nico to try out their new adeptly-named, six-course tasting menu. A variety of delicacies – or maybe more commonplace cravings – came to mind: chocolate, seafood (the “guilt” as I try to remain vegetarian, but to no avail), avocado, red wine… as long as the list was, Six by Nico, much to my delight, had presented them all.

I had tried not to overanalyse the menu too much in advance, to prolong my intrigue, but with ingredients like fregola sarda, dashi jelly and rose harissa emulsion, it would have gone completely over my head regardless. So when I sat down, and was almost immediately met with the cherry tones of the amaretto-based Cola Float aperitif, the excitement properly set in.

“…when I sat down [to] the cherry tones of the amaretto-based Cola Float aperitif, the excitement properly set in…”

Jumping into spaghetti bolognese right off the bat may sound like you’ve forgotten to order your starter, but do not be fooled: the aged pecorino foam that forms the ceiling of the amuse bouche was perfectly delicate, with just the right amount of flavour to tingle the taste-buds, without any unwanted appetite quenching overly intense dishes can bring. The octopus and pork combo was not something I’d envisioned would work so well… but it did. I’m yet to fully understand what fregola sarda is, but that was nice, too.

Palates cleansed, course two was en route, but not before a “crystalline” Chardonnay had made its way to the table. Sipping on the South African wine, I waited for the serving of the somewhat contradictorily-named “Straight from the Can” tuna dish. Served literally in a can it was maybe the most surprisingly aesthetic of the dishes that night. The “ceviche” of tuna steak was tender and light, creating equilibrium with the crunchiness of the Japanese bonito flakes scattered across the top. A mini kebab compiled of tuna, watermelon, bonito and avocado puree made for an explosive mouthful, but I wasn’t sold on the small white cubes that also dotted the plate, as exotic as “Tokyo Turnip” may sound.

“Served literally in a can it was maybe the most surprisingly aesthetic of the dishes that night.”

Try to imagine the poshest steak place you’ve been to, then a lamb kebab – minus the kebab. It was definitely not 727 that Nico was basing this fast food number off of: course three was an autumnal burst of colour and flavour – this is where the rose harissa emulsion came in – accompanied by my favourite wine of the night: a 2017 “Celler Alimira El Senyal Negre”, from Catalunya, Spain. I couldn’t fault it: sweeping the “spiced belly” cut of lamb into a mix of the cool cucumber chutney and flavoursome emulsion, I couldn’t remember why I had ever decided to give up meat in the first place.

I remember Nico’s original “Fish Supper” courses well, and so thinking I’d seen all the arrangements a chip shop repertoire could produce, I wasn’t as fussed about plate four. Characteristic of their creativity, though, Six by Nico didn’t fail to impress. Chips and curry sauce is another of my – many – guilty pleasures, but I was not prepared for the “Fish Supper 2.0” that course four contained, this time, alongside a smooth Rioja Blanco.

“Characteristic of their creativity, though, Six by Nico didn’t fail to impress.”

Whilst I’m not comparing the fifth dish to KFC’s popcorn chicken… all I’d say is that if you’re a fan of the latter, you wouldn’t be disappointed. The Nico-Fried-Chicken crumb brought back memories, and the black garlic emulsion made a perfect pairing, with another full-bodied red to reassert that fine-dining feel.

Last, but by no means least, the “Nutella & Waffles” course that I think we’d all been waiting for made its entrance, a petite concoction of chocolate & praline cremeux, sour cherry, stroopwafel, and crème fraiche. Need I say much more? Accompanied by perhaps the most palatable dessert wine I think I’ve ever had, the sweet and sour finishing act made a perfect finale.

At only £32 per person for the entire six courses – that’s under £6 a course?! – I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking to treat themselves. Nico’s tasting menus are, contrary to the size of each dish, both filling and adventurous. And, as a student, whilst it can be difficult finding really good food on a (moderate) budget, Six by Nico plugs that gap. Running until the 31 October, I would wholeheartedly encourage the experience.


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