What: The first London incarnation of 'ever-evolving' fine-dining concept Six by Nico, which revolves around a single six-course tasting menu that’s ripped up and replaced every six weeks.
Who: The eponymous 'Nico' is Scottish chef Nico Simeone, who opened his first Six by Nico restaurant in his home city of Glasgow back in March 2017. Within a year, he had launched a sister restaurant in Edinburgh. Then, last year, an astonishing expansion drive saw Simeone add four more Six by Nico restaurants to his portfolio. First came Belfast, which opened in the city’s lively Cathedral Quarter in March. Then, in July, came Manchester: Simeone’s first restaurant venture south of the border. Back home, customer demand at his Glasgow flagship eventually compelled him to open a satellite restaurant within the Southside space he had been using as a development kitchen, which launched in October. The following month, Six by Nico also arrived in Liverpool. While Simeone is yet to comment on how the Coronavirus pandemic will impact his future plans for the brand, he has previously told BigHospitality that he has hopes of opening a restaurant in Dublin; as well as potentially establishing a second site in the capital.
The food: The concept is designed to offer a classical fine dining experience at a broadly accessible price point - the full six-course experience costs £35 per head, with an optional wine float available for a further £33. As he always does, Simeone has launched the restaurant with a new incarnation of his 'Chippie' menu, which was the first menu he served at his original Glasgow site and is a tribute to Simeone’s Italian grandparents, who owned a chip shop business. The dishes are inspired by the nostalgic flavours of battered fish and smoked saveloys, and include a reimagined version of cheesy chips featuring a potato croquette coated in vinegar powder which will be served alongside a parmesan espuma drizzled with curry oil; smoked sausage featuring a trio of pork, apple, black pudding, salt-baked celeriac and choucroute; confit fennel topped with Shetland cod, samphire beer emulsion and pickled mussels; and a deep-fried Mars Bar with Caramelia, chocolate mousse, blood orange sorbet and cocoa nib.
The vibe: Even when social distancing is taken into account, the restaurant floor remains pretty sizeable, with space for 76 covers. The restaurant's design is smart, polished and precise, with intimate lighting. And adorning the walls above the pass, where guests can look into the open kitchen, there are various plaques dedicated to previous menus served by restaurant group. They include a menu based around Simeone's own memories of childhood, which featured a ‘Viennetta’ dessert of white chocolate parfait, rhubarb, and ‘pick n mix’ toppings; and another based on a journey along Route 66, with the distinctive flavours of Texas, New Mexico, and California each inspiring their own individual dish.
And another thing: The speed at which Six by Nico grew its estate, particularly in 2019, could appear to be impulsive, or even reckless, from an outsider’s perspective. But for Simeone, the popularity of the concept has made it par for the course. “Most restaurants go through a couple of periods of change every year, but we’re constantly evolving,” he told BigHospitality last year. “People don’t just come to us for a meal, they also come for the story behind it. It’s risky; the nature of the concept means we’re constantly taking ideas that have connected with diners and throwing them away in favour of trying something new. But in doing so we’ve created something that nobody has really done before."
41 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RR