While a Sunday evening is one of the few times you’ll find us sober … ish … for Six by Nico it’s a rule we’re happy to break. Which is how we came to be terribly, terribly drunk on a school night, and completely in love with its latest and greatest menu.
For the very few of you who haven’t yet dined at Nico Simeone’s outstanding restaurant, the concept is simple: every six weeks there’s a brand new theme, and six delicious new courses – all for a miraculous twenty-eight quid.
The current theme promises to transport you from the hazy deserts of Tijuana, to the bustling streets of Mexico. A slightly floral description we grant you, but by thunder, all six dishes are utterly exquisite.
The kick, the colour, and flavour we are so boldly promised, are delivered in abundance. Meanwhile the wine pairings add another layer of joy to this mouth-watering mix.
First we eat, then we do everything else …
We arrived with our favourite bad influence – Kerry Teakle, Edinburgh Foody – and found ourselves throwing back a cheeky glass of bubbles even before we reached our table.
Always appreciative of a theme, we then ordered margaritas all round. Wonderfully refreshing, and an almost unbelievable improvement on pineapple juice alone, all thoughts of work in the morning were soon banished.
Kerry took another sip (or was it a glass?) and asked, “When it comes to the rim, do we prefer things sweet or salty?”
“That’s a little personal Kerry,” we said with a dramatic raise of the eyebrow. “Buy us a drink first??!?”
And with that, we decided the wine pairing – for an additional £25 – was a must!
Wine is bottled poetry …
Robert Louis Stevenson
Now while the first course doesn’t come with wine, it’s fair to say this is a dish that’s spectacular all on its own.
May we present: the Chicken thigh taco with guacamole, strawberry salsa, and whipped crème fraiche. For a start, the presentation is impeccable. But take a bite, and things get even more exciting.
The guacamole is wonderfully zesty, and the strawberry – which could so easily overpower, but doesn’t – makes for the perfect combination.
Already we are three happy diners, and the arrival of the next course only improves our mood. The Nachos with heritage tomato, housemade queso fresco and avocado gazpacho. So fresh, so simple, but oh how your tastebuds tingle!
“I love a heritage tomato,” said Kerry dreamily.
“I don’t even like tomatoes,” Isaac responded. “ But this … is FABULOUS!’
Utterly delightful, it’s perfectly paired with the Romeo sauvignon blanc from Spain. Not acidic in the least, this delightfully mellow drop will make you love a heritage tomato even more.
Food’s like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all …
Next comes Nico’s take on Mexican street corn – the Elote: sweetcorn risotto, green chorizo, and pickled red peppers.
The flavours are amazing, but what really makes it sing are the sublime textures. The toasted sweetcorn kernels are a genius addition of crunch that encourages you to pause, and dissect the dish’s many wonderful tastes.
Speaking of which, the Gavi Spinola we found ourselves drinking only enhances the experience. Produced in Italy, it’s renowned for a nutty, floral character, made all the more intense thanks to the mineral-rich soils of the Gavi region.
Can this meal get any better, we wondered … Our answer arrived in the form of the Sea bass chilpachole mixto with mussel escabeche, crab mole, sikil pak and orange.
Seriously, where do we begin? The tender, fluffy white fish. The crispy skin. The gorgeous mussels. The potatoes coated in an addictive crab sauce. And the wonderful pumpkin seed dip that is sikil pak. It is ALL amazing!
Especially when teamed with the Chateau L’Ermitage Rose and its hints of cranberry and orange. Yowser!
Age and glasses of wine should never be counted …
Already blown away by dishes one, two, three and four, we were surprised when our waitress casually informed us the best was STILL to come.
Sure enough, the Pork Cheek Barbacoa with refried beans, tomatillo, rainbow chard and crackling once again took dinner to whole new level.
The cheek is a particularly pleasing part of your average animal, and this is no exception. Bursting with flavour, and sprinkled with crackling morsels, it leaves you wanting (if you’re as greedy as the Social Bitches) much, much more.
Meanwhile the Cicada, a lighter style of red from Southern Rhone, adds a welcome ripe cherry flavour and a touch of spice to this wonderful dish.
Which brings us to the final hurrah – Chocolate taco with tonka bean ganache, banana ice cream, and chipotle & banana caramel.
Oh my f**king god, what a finish! This dessert is incredible, especially thanks to the life-changing experience that is Nico’s banana ice cream.
And if that doesn’t more than satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t worry. The Moscato passito with its notes of chocolate, marmalade, and intense lemon meringue pie will definitely finish the job.
On our first visit to Six by Nico, the chippie menu absolutely blew us away. But somehow the Mexico menu is even better. How this restaurant delivers so much taste and creativity, for so little cost is a mystery to us.
We’re just happy that every six weeks we get to return – hint, hint – and find ourselves wowed all over again. So, in short we say bravo chef, bravo!
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Edinburgh playhouse 14 minute walk / Usher Hall 16 minute walk
Lunch / dinner
Six course tasting menu £28, wine pairing £25
Six by Nico
97 Hanover Street
0131 225 5050