Six by Nico ‘Best of 2018’ menu is an unforgettable culinary experience

It’s a menu shaped by its customers - and boy have they chosen well.

Six by Nico is cooking up yet another unforgettable culinary experience by recreating their best dishes from 2018, as voted for by loyal diners.

Every six weeks this popular restaurant, which has venues in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, launches a six-course themed tasting menu inspired by different places or memories. Concepts over the past few months were the Middle-East, Sicily, The ‘70s, Mexico, The Chippie, New York and Childhood.

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Head chef Nico Simeone and his team are now revisiting their most popular dishes for a ‘Best of 2018’ meal. Vegetarian alternatives are also available for every course, along with snack sides.

The 'chips and cheese' from The Edinburgh Chippie menu. Pic: contributed

Course one in their latest offering is ‘chips and cheese,’ a delightful twist on the late-night comfort classic which is eaten with a teaspoon.

The first scoop is a pleasant surprise for my partner and I. The Parmesan cheese is a foamy texture yet packs the rich, creamy and salty flavours you’d hope for. It’s complemented by some thinly sliced crispy potato and a hint of curry oil, subtly deployed to avoid overpowering the dish.

Next up is the buffalo chicken, grilled nicely with a crispy outside and succulent centre. The classic serving sauce is rich, smoky and buttery yet not too hot. Little bursts of pureed Gorgonzola cheese and a cluster of pickled celery adds some big flavours and colourful contrast to the dish. Stems of broccoli provide the crunch.

From New York to Sicily, our third course is the beautiful pappardelle ragu. One of the chefs is hand-pulling the pasta behind the open-plan kitchen as we keenly await.

The pappardelle ragu from the Sicily menu. Pic: Contributed

The ox-cheek ragu melts away in the mouth as the warmth of the saffron-coated pappardelle stays in there. Notes of red wine give the sauce a real depth as the sweet tomato bursts through. The dish is completed with some tasty parmesan crisps to give it just enough texture. Quality ingredients treated with the utmost respect – a real taste of Sicilia.

Our culinary journey takes another interesting turn with the arrival of course four, a skilful deconstruction of the classic fish supper.

Sweet, hoppy blobs of beer emulsion are dotted around the perfectly cooked Shetland cod fillet, which sits on a bed of confit fennel and salty samphire and is topped with sprinklings of crispy beer batter. A pair of pickled Shetland mussels heightens the sea aromas and flavours, while the anise of the fennel gives this plate a real complexity. This is a well-refined dish.

Can anything match that fish course? I suspect not at this point. But as the restaurant starts to empty we look across to the big TV screens on the far wall for a bird’s eye view of our food being plating up. It looks amazing, it’s coming our way and hopes are high.

A twist on fish and chips from the Edinburgh Chippie menu. Pic: contributed

‘Duck, Duck, Goose,’ exclaims our friendly Australian waitress before talking us through the various elements of the dish. The phrase immediately conjures up childhood memories.

The meat is roasted the way it should be – crisp on the outside and pink in the middle. It’s rich to taste yet soft to eat. We both love the duck leg cannelloni, where the meat has been shredded through hours of slow cooking in its own fat and filled into an al dente pasta tube. A smooth parsley root puree provides balance of flavour and texture and a dainty piece of crispy queen kale adds a flash of golden colouring. The dish is brought together by a sweet red wine sauce and a soft prune.

It’s another intricate dish with many skilful elements, each executed superbly. Goose doesn’t actually feature on the plate at all - but it’s not needed.

To finish, we enjoy an imaginative dessert resembling a real apple with a sweet, mirror-glazed syrup coating and soft vanilla cheesecake inside. Fittingly entitled the ‘big apple,’ you’ll find a sorbet-like puree of the ‘granny smith’ variety at its core which injects a lovely bit of sharpness.

The duck dish from the childhood-themed menu. Pic: contributed

The standout feature of this pudding sits above a base of lemon curd and tonka bean granola, an ingredient native to Central and South America which gives off some notes of vanilla. It’s both a fun and clever way to cap off an excellent meal.

If you’re looking for a truly special dining experience at great value then head to Six by Nico - you won’t forget it.

The Best of 2018 menu is priced at £28 per person with the option to enjoy an expertly selected wine and specialist drinks pairing for an additional £25 at each restaurant. The menu is available until Sunday, March 3rd.

Visit the Six by Nico website for more details.

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The apple-shaped dessert from the New York menu. Pic: contributed