Hi hi hi everyone! Wow that was a slightly longer break than originally intended, but I did say back in Let’s Start Again that I wanted to focus on posting when and what I want rather than according to a schedule. Anyway, I digress. Today I wanted to talk to you about Six By Nico, the new restaurant in Belfast that the world and its neighbour seem to know about!
I was kindly invited to taste and try the Cooking The Chippie menu at Six By Nico by Cathy Martin, Ciaran and the team at Rumour Mill PR, and Phil at SKAPA PR, on Sunday 10th March, in exchange for some social media shout outs and this written blog. That being said, as always I will be 100% honest with you all, so I hope you enjoy reading my opinions!
Now anyone who opened their curtains on the 10th (trust me, I was tempted not to) will know we seemed to experience nearly every weather condition possible inside the space of an hour. So getting out of the car and walking around to Six By Nico, I was foundered. Opening the door to the new restaurant, I was greeted by some very welcome heating, and even more welcoming staff. Checking in at the door with Phil was quick and easy, and made even easier by the glass of Prosecco handed to us to enjoy as we took in the surroundings. Now, I have to admit, I have got into the habit of looking at the curtains and the upholstery the second I walk into a new place – a habit I’ve developed since starting working in my job – and I have to admit I was impressed. Warm and welcoming are again the words I would use to describe Six By Nico. One of the first things that caught my attention was the fact there are two kitchen areas – this proved to be extremely efficient when it came to feeding us all! The tables were all in sets of twos or fours, and so we gravitated towards a table at the back, where we had a perfect view of the kitchens.
Nico Simeone started his restaurants in Scotland, and just opened in Belfast in the last week or so. The concept behind Six By Nico is a themed six-course taster menu that changes every six weeks, each theme based on a different place or memory. Cooking “The Chippie” in Belfast between 5th March and 14th April, Belfast will have the first 3 menus based around Belfast, with the intention of then rotating the three restaurants (Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh) on the same dates each time. The new menus are announced on week 4, and I was advised that you need to book early if you like the look of the menu!
As I said above, Belfast is currently cooking “The Chippie”, so I took the below from the Six By Nico website, just to inform you all a little more:
Inspired by Belfast’s love for traditional fish and chips, the city’s Maritime heritage and Donegall Quay’s “Big Fish” art piece, there was no doubt that the first menu to debut at Six by Nico’s new Belfast location would be “The Chippie”.
Let’s get on to the food!
I was sitting at a table with Bex from Faeriwood, who was eating the Gluten Free versions of the menu – we’ll come to that later! – and we decided to start the lunch off with the optional “snack” of fish fingers. I say “snack” this way because it was big enough to be a 7th course!
Three salt cod brandades (battered balls of an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil), served with brown sauce, some delicious bread, and whipped butter – my tastebuds were already in heaven! They melted in my mouth, the perfect ratio of batter to fish, and definitely not at all heavy. If this was considered a snack, I was so excited to try more. I’m still stuffed, but I’m salivating at the memory of this delicious course.
Now that we were ready to start the proper menu, I was really excited for the Chips & Cheese – one of my favourites, and something I definitely had too much of when living in Glasgow! However, this was chips and cheese as you’ve never had it before…
A parmesan espuma (the Spanish word for foam), with crisp potatoes through it, and a drizzle of curry oil over the top. TO. DIE. FOR! Not at all what I was expecting, and yet delicious. It was so light and fluffy and cheesey, and the curry oil didn’t overpower the taste of the cheese at all. My one personal thing would be that it was a rather salty dish, so I would recommend a glass of water with this one, but still very very tasty. Each to their own, and I spoke to plenty of people who disagreed with me about it being a little too salty, so all I can say is get yourself down there to try it!
The plates were cleared, and we were lamenting the loss of the chips and cheese, when course number two came out – the Scampi course, the one I was most excited for!
Breaded monkfish cheek, served on a pea emulsion with some Gribiche – essentially a mayonnaise, made using cooked egg yolks instead of raw, and acting as a tartar sauce. I was not at all disappointed! Well, I was disappointed when I finished it, but then again I did have another 4 courses to come. The peas were lovely and fresh, and considering I’m not a fan of tartar sauce or mayo, I loved the gribiche! I had a new favourite course already, and couldn’t wait for the next one to come out.
Course three – steak pie – was presented, and wow did it look good.
A circle of the most tender beef shin I have ever tasted, topped by some glazed puff pastry, served with mushroom duxelle, red wine, and a burnt onion ketchup. Now, I did struggle with the puff pastry as it was a little crispy for trying to cut up to eat with the beef, but wow the flavours were incredible. The best way I can describe this course is like a deconstructed beef wellington, only tastier, and definitely something I would love to have again. The beef just fell apart on your fork, and was matched perfectly by the mushroom.
Now, by this stage I was struggling. There were still three courses left, and I was beginning to feel a tad full. However, this didn’t stop my mouth from watering at the sight of the Fish Supper!
Pan seared cod, served with a confit of fennel, samphire, and beer pickled mussels, I found myself pleasantly surprised. I’m not a big fan of fennel, but the mix of the cod and mussels with the fennel confit went so well, I even forgot I was eating a fennel based confit! On a side note, I was jealous of the vegetarian option for this course – grilled Halloumi. Still slight regret not opting for the veggie option for that course!
While Bex and I discussed the joys of watching all the food being prepped, we were not expecting the next surprise. The smoked sausage course was probably the only course on the menu I was a little apprehensive of when I read the menu, but those thoughts were well and truly out of my head when we were presented with the plates…
A trio of pork, served on salt baked celeriac, with a side of caramelised apple, and a couple of squares of black pudding. Not being a fan of celeriac or black pudding, I decided to be open minded and try all the flavours together – and I am so glad I did! The flavours worked together perfectly, and I scraped the plate clean with this course. I would still probably say it was my least favourite of the 6 courses, but that might have more to do with the fact it was the heaviest dish, and I still ate every last morsel of food on the plate!
Finally, we were waiting with anticipation for the Deep Fried Mars Bar dessert, and we were not disappointed – even if my photography wasn’t the best for the last course!
Caramelia Chocolate mousse, served on a bed of almost like chocolate biscuit crumbs (think like a cheesecake base but not as solid), with orange sorbet, blood orange segments, and a cocoa nib. The best course of the day in my opinion! The mousse was so light and fluffy, and tasted exactly like a mars bar! However, this was nothing compared to the sorbet. That sorbet! Highlight of my day, not going to lie. It was so strong and citrussy, and just perfect! My only complaint? There wasn’t enough of it and it disappeared (into my mouth) far too quickly! Wow. Just wow. No other words.
I finished up with a good strong cup of coffee, and soon was heading back to the house to catch the second half of the Ireland match, but my mind was still on the delicious food. I’m already trying to find an excuse to go back!
Overall verdict? Get yourselves to your nearest Six By Nico as soon as possible! At £28 for the 6 courses, it is an absolute steal. Great food, excellent service, and just a fantastic concept. I can’t wait to find out what the next menu will be for Belfast, and I will be trying to coax Mum and Dad to go there with me as soon as possible!
Have you eaten in Six By Nico, in any of the 3 restaurants? What were your thoughts?