Another menu, another visit to Six by Nico. This time round a menu inspired by the joyous food of my childhood in the 70s. I was tempted to don my flares and cycle there on my Chopper, but I was wary of being in some freak headline accident, ‘Man gets flares trapped in Chopper chain, falls under lorry’.
Still, it was good to revisit some of the beloved dishes of my childhood although I don’t recall ever having SPAM!
- SPAM & MASH – Potato Espuma, Smoked Ham Hough, Pickled Mustard Seed
- PRAWN COCKTAIL – Tiger Prawn, Baby Gem Ketchup, Tomato, Shellfish Marie Rose
- CHICKEN KIEV – Black Garlic Emulsion, Pea Pesto, Rainbow Radish
- SALMON TIKKA MASALA – Onion Bhaji, Caramelised Cauliflower, Lime Gel
- DUCK A L’ORANGE – Confit Duck, Aromatic Carrot, Orange Puree
- TRIFLE – Summer Berries, Saffron, Almond Sponge, Whipped Creme Fraiche
Apertifs got us kicked off, and the Harvey Wallbanger certainly hit the mark and then, as always, SNACKS! Beef & Horseradish Vol-Au-Vent got us kicked off with bang, succulent beef in a crisp vol-au-vent with a subtle horseradish paste was a great way to get the palate warmed up, same goes for the Vegetarian option featuring fresh beetroot.
As I say I don’t recall having Spam but if it tasted half as good as the wonderful balanced dish I had last night then my parents will have a lot of questions to answer. A rich and creamy espuma, moist and lightly salty ham, and that pickled mustard seed to give it a little kick, a few spoonfuls of utter delight! Bring back Spam I say!
What’s more 70s than Prawn Cocktail? Well this one had three types of prawn – tempura, garlic and grilled – with a rich shellfish sauce, with some fresh tomato, grilled baby gem leaves and was definitely not the tangy, cloying affair of my youth. All three prawns were perfectly cooked, although the tempura was a little thick (IMO) making it more a battered prawn but still, no bad thing!
Thankfully the next dish did not explode on us, instead this Chicken Kiev oozed out a rich, dark, tangy, garlic-ey emulsion as you cut through it. It’s the kind of sauce you occasionally get that makes you wonder if they’d sell you a bottle of the stuff as it was deliciously more-ish! Fresh pea pesto helped lift the entire plate and keep things light and this was the first dish to bring silence to our table. A delightful little plate of food.
Curry time, and whilst I think there was a missed opportunity to serve this a la TV dinner, what we did get was perfectly cooked salmon, a deconstructed onion bhaji, with spots of lime gel/curd, all sprinkled with caramelised cauliflower florets. The salmon was the star, although perhaps the tikka masala aspect got a bit lost as the smear of sauce didn’t really have the kick I expected. A good dish but not a great one.
There have been quite a few duck dishes at Six by Nico but this one just won top prize! Perfectly prepared confit duck that melted in the mouth, was well accompanied by lightly herbed carrot ribbons, and a zesty but not overpowering orange puree. It’s a 70s classic sure, but this update proves why it was so popular, when you get the balance of flavours right it’s an absolute star of a dish!
And now, for those who know me and my penchant for trifle (at Christmas, I’m not a monster) came the dish that was likely to make or break the entire meal. Served in a tumbler – ohhh how very 70s – this was layer after layer of dessert heaven. From the sugar coated sesame seeds, to the sharp boozy cherry base, each layer provided flavour after flavour. Personally I would’ve liked more of the middle ‘creme’ layers to balance out the boozy cherries, but it’s a minor quibble. I never lost faith in trifle, but now I feel its future is assured!! Thank you Nico!
Overall one of the better menus for sure, and I do feel that Six by Nico is best when they are being bold, delivering big flavours without overwhelming. They more subtle dishes are always good but too many in one menu can start to dilute the overall experience, thankfully The 70s was a very well thought out menu.
What a lovely evening in the company of good friends, great food, wonderful friendly service and, I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, at £28 for six courses of wonderful food, plus £5 for an apertif and £5 for snacks (between two) Six by Nico continues to be ridiculously good value for such well prepared and considered food.
Ohhh and maybe they can keep the awesome 70s playlist too!