Category: <span>Food</span>

I’m guessing it all started with Sun-Maid Raisins.

If you are of a certain age (shut up at the back!) they were a staple part of your packed lunch, sitting right next to the tuna paste sandwich and, if you were really lucky, a carton of Ribena. Ahh yes that little red cardboard box that contained a small handful of such a sweet delicacy, the raisin.

As I’m sure you know, a raisin is simply a dried grape BUT, ahh yes, it’s not just any grape. Typically the word “raisin” is reserved for the dark-colored dried large grape, with “sultana” being a golden-colored dried grape, and “currant” being a dried small Black Corinth seedless grape. And you thought you weren’t going to learn anything today…

I love raisins, I love how they taste, I love how they feel in your mouth eaten raw, I love how they are just at home in a spicy curry or freshly baked cake.

As I got older I got my own pocket money and the temptation of the previously unknown chocolate coated raisin loomed into my world view. I’m pretty sure I kept the local shop in business the summer I discovered them; rarely was I happier than having a box of raisin Poppets in one hand, a (red) box of toffee Poppets in the other. It was a simple time; One raisin, one toffee, one after another, popped in my gob and chewed and savoured and swallowed. Repeat.

Somewhere along the way the toffee Poppets were replaced by chocolate coated peanuts, and I veered away from the brand names to the stores own-brand, I noticed no difference, plus it’s only £1 for a bag of chocolate raisins, heaven! If I was really well behaved I’d sometimes be able to make them last for a week or so, but most times that sneaky addition to my shopping cart were scoffed quick smart.

In fact it’s why I started buying the chocolate peanuts as well, to bulk things out a bit, to make the pleasure last that little bit longer.

So you can imagine my glee when, on returning from the supermarket the other day, Becca said she’d gotten me some treats.

We have a snack drawer at home, it’s mostly Nakd bars and the like (we do try and eat healthily) but in these current times it’s fair to say that I’m struggling a little more than usual to keep my inner ’emotional eater’ in-check. I knew I had treats waiting, and I’m proud that I lasted a couple of days before heading to the kitchen to raid the snack drawer and see what she’d bought me.

I was watching a movie, and fancied a little something to munch on. I kept the movie playing so I could watch from the kitchen (we have an open-plan layout downstairs), and went through and opened the snack drawer and, to my delight I could see TWO little bags of treats in the drawer, the top one of which read “Milk Chocolate Raisins”, YA BEAUTY!! Raisins and peanuts!

I quickly grabbed a small bowl so I could mix them up and, whilst I negotiated the usual hazards that living with a dog who likes to check what you are doing when you are in the ‘food room’, I grabbed the top bag, snipped it open and tipped a small (ok large!) handful into the bow, I grabbed the second bag and did the same.

I returned to my seat, engrossed in the movie, got comfortable and dipped my hand into the bowl. First item out, a chocolate raisin! Oh yes! I think it smiled a little as the chocolate gave way to the rich sweetness that lay with in.

Now, I’m an adult so I took my time, savouring each chew until it was all gone. I forced myself to wait a few seconds – again I’m an adult, honest – and dipped my hand into the bowl, enjoying the tiny silly suspense of guessing what I’d get next, raisin or peanut, raisin or peanut.


Two in a row.

A few minutes later, I tried again… RAISIN AGAIN! This was wonderful but I gave the bowl a little shoogle to make sure the peanuts and raisins were properly mixed up.

Another try and, another raisin, what the … and then I realised, as I’m sure you already have.

She bought me two bags of raisins, didn’t she.

I’d only gone and opened both bags, tipping a little from one, then a little from the other, into the bowl thinking I was getting a mix of peanuts and raisins.

What. A. Numpty.

Still, I enjoyed the rest of the bowl, safe in the knowledge there were no chocolate peanuts waiting in disguise.

Food Life Personal Musings

Welcome to the year 2020! A new year has arrived and with it a new resolve is found and plans are forged; a time of personal goals and improvements, a time to re-invent, to start over, to become a better you!

To help you in your quest you’ll be pleased to find there are many new methods and approaches that will happily take your money to help you achieve (or at least make a start on) your goals, get that shiny new day planner, or a sumptuous new journal, or perhaps take a look at the myriad of apps to help you better yourself, all for the low low price of a tiny piece of your soul! BUY NOW!

Ohh hark at me, on my high horse already. I apologise, I don’t mean to be so pessimistic but it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of such things, with nary every advert that pops up on every website and in every social media feed proclaiming how you truly are only a 6-step plan away from your new perfection! Sign up now and download our app (only £5.99 per month (billable at a discount of only £70.20 per year!)).

And, of course, I really shouldn’t rant and rave against such things, it’s more than a little hypocritical of me given I’ve already, recently, shared my own resolutions for the year.

I am nothing if not inconsistent.

Yet with all that said and done there does seem to be a subtle shift in the focus of these things, it certainly seems like I’m seeing more goals prompting a focus on mental health, alongside the general view that we need more positivity throughout our lives, and I believe this is very much a good thing.

Regardless of what science tells me (a new year is just another revolution of our little planet around the Sun), it still feels particularly prevalent to focus on messages of love, of self-care, of moderation and tolerance in the month of January as so many people are setting themselves up for new challenges, new goals, new words to live by, and it’s easy to get swept along by the volume of people stating they are trying to change.

So much the better, what does it matter if it’s an arbitrary date change that helps give people a push to try something new? I sincerely hope that if you have made any resolutions this year that you are successful with them, and if you aren’t, I hope that you learn and maybe grow a little because of the experience, just don’t give up, you can try again any time you want!

These days January is no longer only about new gym goers, but is also the haven for those going dry, or vegan (Veganuary) both of which are laudable goals, and one of which I’m already part way into myself.

Last year, around late November, I watched the documentary “The Game Changers”. It’s largely about proving whether or not a plant based diet is a good thing and the bulk of the content focuses on elite athletes (the documentary is also backed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lewis Hamilton and others) and how the ‘eat meat to get protein to build muscle’ is a myth.

Now, I know you are all more than capable of googling facts about the documentary, some of which supports the evidence shown, some of which doesn’t, and for the most part it was just an interesting watch. I found myself watching it with a sense that, sure, if you are an elite athlete and that is your life then adjusting to a plant based diet is just one facet of what you do every day so is certainly more achievable (and measurable). For the rest of us mere mortals, the ones who work in offices and don’t exercise twice a day (twice a week?) just how applicable is it?

Those were the thoughts in my head while I watched, after all this is a production backed by people who likely have some vested interest in furthering a particular view?

And then it got to the section with the New York Firefighters.

Here was a group of 40-something men, mostly over weight, who have a high stress, physical jobs. What would eating a plant-based diet do for them? Measurements were taken at the start of a week long test, and again at the end and one set stood out. Each man who had switched to a plant-based diet lowered their blood pressure, fairly dramatically, in one week.

I have high blood pressure. I’ve been on medication for it for about 10 years. One of the drugs will, eventually, start to damage my liver (so I’m on a second drug to counteract that). It’s been my reality for long enough now that I stopped thinking about it and just accept it’s part of who I am and I’ve let my focus be more around losing weight/fat as that’s what the doctor – when he’s not banging on about leptins – keeps telling me would be the best thing to do; lose weight and lower the dosage of the drugs I take to give my liver a chance.

Watching that section of the documentary made me realise that, whilst I’ve never really been one for diets in a ‘lose weight’ sense, I’ve long known how to eat a balanced diet but I’d never considered it as a specific way to tackle my high blood pressure. It really was a light bulb moment for me.

I live with a vegetarian, she’s been one for a while now and she has a lot of working knowledge on the topic, so we discussed it, and what challenges it might throw up and the next day I decided to give it a shot.

That was 6 weeks ago and, despite the festive season of over-indulgence being slap bang in the middle of that period, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it throughout.

My weight has fluctuated a bit, mostly because for the first few weeks I was very focussed on what I was eating and also cut out a lot of snacking, no more sneaky KitKats for me, and so it wasn’t a massive surprise that I also lost weight. That said, I wasn’t really doing much more than that, I was still eating loads, and I was starting to feel the benefit, starting to feel less bogged down and sluggish each day.

More importantly my blood pressure has dropped. Because I’m on medication I take my blood pressure every month and, on average over the past year it’s around the 138/96 mark. After four weeks of eating a mostly plant-based diet it had dropped to 116/84. In other words, it’s dropped from being in the upper regions Mild High Blood Pressure range (and remember this is WITH medication), to the mid regions of the High-Normal range. In less than a month.

A few other things on this then.

  1. I don’t think I’d be vegan. I have switched from cows milk to oat or soya milk, but I still eat eggs occasionally, and have butter on toast most weekends. I’ve never been a big cheese eater anyway so the occasional chunk is about all I’d have anyway.

  2. I take a supplement to make sure I’m getting some of the basic vitamins I might be missing (B12 being the main one) but I did that when I was hitting the gym and lifting weights so that’s not a big deal.

  3. No, I’m not a vegetarian. At least I’m not in my head, it’s more that I’m just unlikely to eat meat again any time soon but I’m doing it primarily for health reasons, not because I think meat is murder. It’s very rare that I buy into one thing so utterly and completely that it becomes canon and I don’t see this being any different.

  4. I don’t like bell peppers (the big red/green/orange/yellow ones). If you don’t either, be sure to check what you are buying if the food is already prepared, they get shoved in a dishes they have no place being.

  5. I am exercising as well, mostly dog walks at the moment (physio on my knee commences tomorrow!) but that has been fairly constant through the last few months so I’m putting the lower blood pressure and weight loss down to the change of eating habits.

I understand this is a hot topic for many people – some people oppose meat eating due to the impact that cattle farming has on the environment (that is part of my thinking as well), others follow the meat is murder mantra – but for me it’s a personal choice, and not something I’ll be crowing about, or nagging anyone else about (yes, I realise I’m writing a post about it).

And, for the complete avoidance of doubt, no I was not made vegetarian by my partner, far from it! She still forgets I’m not eating meat at the moment and points out tasty things in the supermarket or on a menu for me, “Ohhh that chorizo dish looks tasty… oh wait!”

I guess the clearest way to state what I’m currently doing is that I’m making a conscientious decision to eat less meat and have a mostly plant-based diet, with the aim of reducing my biologically high blood pressure enough that I can lower my potentially liver damaging medication intake.

But I guess saying, hey I’m vegetarian at the moment, is a bit simpler.

And for those wondering, post title courtesy of The Selkirk Grace by Robert Burns.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be Thankit!

Food Health Life Personal Musings

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It’s the simplest of things.

Take a slice of bread, put it in the slot, drop the lever and wait. After a short time the lever POPS! and there you have it, perfectly browned toast, yours to adorn it however you wish, and ohhhh the choices are myriad.

My usual toppings for a breakfast slice or two involves butter and whatever sweet condiment I have to hand, most often it’s honey, occasionally it’s jam and if the mood has taken me as I wander the supermarket isles, there may even be the option of a lemon curd or bramble jelly. But it all starts with butter, and sometimes that is all that is needed.

The bread is, of course, important, and again the mood and circumstance dictate. A few years ago, with a hangover looming over my day, I ventured to the shop across the road, purchased a loaf of fresh sliced white bread and retreated home, there to consume it, slice by delicious buttered slice, through the rest of the day.

These days I tend to treat myself a little better, and love nothing better than thick cut seeded loaf of some sort. We also get responsibly sourced heather honey from a Scottish producer which, along with a smear of butter, brings a little bit of luxury to my weekend mornings.

Eating out is a different matter and I recently bemoaned the distinct lack of choice when it comes to some of the places we visit, with any form of brunch or breakfast invariably served on toasted sour-dough which, whilst not a bad choice most days, is becoming so ubiquitous it’s getting a little boring. I like a nice sour-dough loaf as much as the next person, but c’mon folks, let’s mix it up a bit!

A few years ago I went through a spell of making my own bread which is as simple as it is therapeutic, even if living alone meant I’d end up consuming the entire thing myself, with the first half usually gone during the ‘fresh from the oven’ phase… oops.

Be it plain, white, brown, or any of the myriad of regional variations, whether it originated in the British Isles or hails from over the sea (I do love a brioche, merci la France!) the simple act of toasting bread and adding butter remains a simple and underestimated pleasure.

So, next time you pop a couple of slices in the toaster, take time to marvel at what is going on. The chemistry involved in the baking of the bread, with that wonderful soft flesh inside that is rendered new into a warm, crispy, deliciousness, by what very well may be the invention of the century, which is only further heightened simply by applying butter.

Toast, it really is the breakfast of champions.

And for those of you of a certain age, have an earworm…

Morning all. I’d like to tell you about when I was a young boy. Must have
been three or four months old at the time. I didn’t really know what I
wanted, and if I did, I wouldn’t have been able to tell anybody, ’cause all
I could do was gurgle.
So, I sat there in me highchair, thinking one day, looking at me tray and
thinking what I’d give for a meal on there.
So, I started looking round to see what I could have.
I was rubbing me eggy soldier in me head, trying to think, and I looked in
the corner and there’s a little breadbin with its mouth open, just staring
at me, like.
Toast by Streetband (and yes, that’s Paul Young)

Blogvember Food

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I’m on my way to work. I step off the bus and head for the same location as I have these past four years. As I enter, if she’s working, Alice says hi and takes my precious travel mug from me, and starts to prepare my … wait for it, large skinny, sugar-free vanilla, latte.

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, more that I like routine, and as this coffee house is on my way to the office, it’s a convenient place to stop.

Isn’t that what an addict would say?

I’ve tried going cold turkey, both by choice and by happen-stance, neither times were particularly fun and both resulted in a splitting headache by the early afternoon.

At a previous job I drove to work, parked in the car park and walked into the office, usually one of the first people there, my first port of call was the filter coffee machine. Again, it was routine; take off my coat and hanging it up, retrieve laptop from bag and start it up, open drawer and remove mug and head for the kitchen.

Once in the kitchen I’d set up the coffee machine and wait for it to filter through to the pot. Just me, in silence, almost like a meditation, listening to the quiet gurgling of the machine, and the first tell-tale drip drip drips.

Rumour has it that, as people started to appear in the office, they’d check to see if I’d had my coffee before approaching me. I am very OK with this. It’s not like I was grumpy until I’d had a coffee, more that I like to have my moment with my favourite beverage.

Growing up, coffee was a constant, the only hot drink I recall my Dad ever drinking. My Mum was all tea, and the occasional hot chocolate which, given my Father’s sweet tooth I have to presume he also indulged in, is still something I have now and then.

I take my coffee with a dash of milk and a sweetener, the same as my Dad. For a while I switched to black coffee for no other reason than securing a source of milk in an office environment was always a bit tricky. These days, with someone else making my first coffee of my working day for me, it’s a little more exotic.

Is it an addiction? Perhaps. I know my limits though, and tend not to drink coffee after about 5pm, lest I be awake at 2am and ready to take on the day!! I also try not to have more than four or five cups throughout the day, most days I have three which I think is a reasonable balance., right?

Science says otherwise but that was yesterday, and no doubt tomorrow we will be told that no caffeine should be consumed. Wait a week and we will be told that, actually, a few cups a day is perfectly fine but no more than eight.

I’ve tried tea a couple of times, builder’s tea I guess you’d call it. The first time I was on holiday with a friend and his parents in a holiday resort in Anglesey. Few memories remain of that week; cassettes of Soul II Soul and Bomb The Bass on rotation on my walkman, snogging a goth girl who smelled like peaches, and drinking a cup of tea as I was too polite/shy to say no. It was an odd week.

More recently I tried it again, having spent many years treating the drinking of hot water and leaves with disdain. I retain that view still, tea and I do not get along.

Aside from coffee, I drink about three to four litres of water a day as well – the joys of being on a diuretic – and occasionally will have a can of something fizzy. We get fresh orange juice delivered from a local farm, as well as milk, each week, and that’s about it. I’m partial to the odd glass of wine with a nice meal, and will happily spend an evening in the company of friends drinking beer, or perhaps a gin (and after that, who knows, cocktails?!), but my beverage of choice is, and always has been, coffee.

I wish it was better for me, I wish I could drink it after 5pm – and no, decaff doesn’t work, my brain seems to work on the fact I’ve had coffee, not the amount of caffeine I’ve ingested – but part of me doesn’t care about any of that.

The only thing better than the smell of freshly ground coffee, is the smell of freshly made coffee. Whilst I’ll occasionally indulge in a seasonal special, as offered by the large coffee chains around the world, I’m just as happy to make a mug of fresh coffee at home, sit on the sofa with a dog at my side and take 10 minutes out of my day to just enjoy.

Addiction? Routine? Whatever.

All I know right now, is that it’s time for another coffee.

Blogvember Food

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It took ten minutes of chopping – carrot, celery, onion – plus a bag of yellow split peas and some vegetarian stock, add salt and pepper, some more water and, after slow cooking for several hours the kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of split pea soup. Thick, creamy, utterly deliciously.

I’ve written about food here before, although I’ve stopped reviewing every restaurant I visit, and used to write even more when I was an active member of the local Yelp community (that got closed down, a fact that still annoys!). It’s such fun to write about food, trying to find more and more ways to describe a flavour, or a texture, or that wonderful combination of both in a dish that simply dances on the taste-buds.

I like food, a fact not lost on my regular reader (hey you!) given how often I talk about my weight for yes, alas the two are inextricably linked given that I tend to eat more calories than I burn.

I’m very privileged of course, living where I live and in a comfortable lifestyle where my main problem is deciding what food to eat, rather than if I will eat at all. If anything we have an abundance of choice, far more than I even remember as a child, especially given the availability of goods that used to only be available in the correct season; that said the seasons still apply, a strawberry in December is not the same as a strawberry in June.

But let’s not get too heavy (pun intended) for food is something that should be enjoyed if at all possible although I am guilty of falling into the “food is fuel” thinking, eating because I should rather than I want to. Thankfully that’s exception rather than the rule, and so most days I eat tasty food that is good for me.

Oh yes, I may be overweight but that’s not because I constantly eat bad food, my breakfasts are typically porridge and fruit (with a skimmed milk, sugar-free vanilla latte), my lunches either freshly made salads or sandwiches (not bought from a supermarket) and my dinners are typically cooked in the oven, be they chicken and veg, or just a bit plate of roasted veg (admittedly with some butter but hey, we gotta live!).

No, where I fall off the good eating wagon is the snacks and the chocolate and the desserts. Too often I reach for something sugary, a sweet tooth inherited from my father, and too often rather than one or two little things, it’s four, or seven, or an entire pack.

This I know, and this is the daily battle of emotional willpower versus intellectual knowledge, and even though most days my intellect wins (a rarity in itself!) the days were my willpower collapses completely tend to undo an entire week or two in one fell swoop. I do not fall lightly (because I’m overweight! Ha ha, look at me, laughing at myself).

And then there is eating out, which can be done healthily but more often than not is an indulgence. I do love a well prepared, well presented meal, and some live long in my memory. There is something about having your senses overwhelmed with juicy sauces and piquant fragrances that really seems to make reminiscing on such meals all the more vivid.

Food is a staple, we all need it, and it always fascinates me to see how different people view it. You see articles about people who’ve eaten the same meal every day for years and year, and then read about people who are moving to an insect-only diet. It is a constant in all our lives, yet every single one of us will have a different favourite food, or favourite cuisine, just as we all have differing dislikes (not to mention allergies).

I guess this all boils down to one thing, are you a sane person, or do you actually think Marmite tastes nice?

Blogging Blogvember Food

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Bonjour mes amis, le moment est venu de revoir le dernier menu du Six by Nico. Cette fois-ci, nous visitons Paris!*

Don’t worry, I won’t be testing your translation skills any further. I’d heard good things about this menu and managed to sneak in to try it before it disappears at the end of the week; Six by Nico is still proving popular enough that we could only get a table at 9pm on a Tuesday night!

  • FRENCH ONION – Braised Onion / Compte Espuma / Brown Butter Croutons
  • COQ AU VIN – Chicken Terrine / Crispy Bacon / Soubisse
  • PETIT POIS A LA FRANCAIS – Slow Cooked Egg / Pea / Charred Gem / Ham
  • BOUILLABAISSE – Sole / Confit Fennel / Roasted Pepper / Rouille
  • PARISIAN GNOCCHI – Gnocchi / Lemon / Capers / Parsley (substitute for above cos fennel and pepper, bleuch)
  • BEEF BOURGUIGNON – Ox Cheek / Mushroom Duxelle / Shallot & Bacon Crumb / Red Wine
  • CREME BRULEE – Raspberry, Rose & Lychee / Pink Peppercorn Meringue / Brown Sugar

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Six by Nico: Paris. One of the best yet!!

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A cheeky little apertif, La Marais Belini – French Elderflower, Lemon juice, and Prosecco – got the palate going ahead of the arrival of our snacks. Billed as “Croque Madame” the snack was a good example of the type of dish I wish Nico did elsewhere, just a bit larger as this would easily sit as a ‘small main’ sized dish. A slice of bread pudding, smothered in egg yolk jam, topped with a crispy slice of salty ham, with a rich parmesan espuma on the side, I’d happily eat it twice over.

But alas it was gone too soon and it was time to crack on with the main menu.

As much as I like onions, I’ve never really enjoyed onion soup but then I’ve never had it like this before. Dark heavily braised onions, a sharp but not overpowering compte espuma with dark brown butter croutons adding a nice crunch nestling at the bottom. This was more a tiny meal than a soup, a tiny pot of heavy flavours that was at once very rich and nicely comforting, just as a good soup should be.

Coq au vin is a dish I’ve actually eaten in Paris but of course Six by Nico offers a different twist. A triangle of shredded, most, delicately spiced chicken, radish, onion, and pickled mustard seeds, with a crispy bacon slice on top. Possibly the weakest dish, it was still very good but I think the chicken could’ve had a little more flavour. That said, pickled mustard seeds were a revelation that definitely gave this dish a lift.

French peas by another name, this was a very fresh and light dish, with a wonderfully salty slice of ham, a perfectly poached (sous vide?) egg, a richy creamy sauce, and vibrant green peas. It’s dishes like these, with such simple ingredients that really shine, and make me appreciate the skill level of what is being offered.

I decided to switch out the Bouillabaisse for the vegetarian option as I’m not keen on fennel or peppers. I’m happy to say that I don’t think I missed out at all. The Gnocchi was perfectly cooked, with crisp tops and a gooey middle, and accompanied with warmed raisins, samphire, and capers, with a dark raisin puree. Quite sweet for a main course it was still delicious, with capers adding a nice zing against the sweetness of the raisins, all of which sat well with the gnocchi. A much better dish than I first expected.

Star of the show for me was the next dish, the Beef Bourguignon. Melt in the mouth Ox Cheek, a smooth carrot puree, and the mushroom duxelle was wonderfully rich and sweet and garlicky, with the crumb on top giving the entire dish a bite of bit. Wow. What a delight, perfectly cooked ingredients, expertly delivered and with a wonderful linger on the palate. I’d have happily had two plates of this.

Except it was time for dessert. A friend suggested this could be the ‘best of’ for this year (already!) so I was keen to see it and I have to admit, he might be right!

Arriving en flambé this was a superbly rich creme topped with a wafer thin brulee, accompanied with delicious rose and lychee sorbet, and thin slivers of meringue. The technical ability on show here was astounding, with each item on the plate delicate and well balanced, each flavour combination well considered and is one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten at Six by Nico, or anywhere else.

What a menu! Not a bad dish in sight, some new flavour combinations (that gnocchi!), a new take on french onion soup that I might actually try, and THAT dessert.

Superbe repas, tout à fait délicieux! Bravo et merci, Six par Nico!*

As I’ve said before, food of this quality, served by knowledgeable, efficient and friendly staff, at £28 for six courses – plus £5 for an apertif and £5 for snacks (between two) – and I think Six by Nico must be the best value for money in Glasgow. If you haven’t yet been, and are swithering because the menu is ‘set’, know that you can swap every dish for a veggie alternative, and they can omit specific items if you require.

And, in even better news (for me), I’m back there next week for the next menu… The Orient Express!

* Hello my friends, it’s time for another review of the latest menu at Six by Nico, this time round we are visiting Paris!
* Superb meal, utterly delicious! Well done and thank you, Six by Nico!

Food Reviews SixbyNico

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A shorter review because, this being a ‘best of’ I’ve already written about these dishes and, for the most part, they were cooked and presented the same way.

Also they cheated by including a course from the Chippie which was a 2017 menu in Glasgow, but 2018 in Edinburgh, but given it remains one of the stand out dishes I’ll let them away with it…

The Best Of menu is voted for by the public on social media and competition was fierce. The options were as follows (my votes in bold):

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie) vs Arancini Tricolore (Sicily)
  2. Lamb Kebab (Middle East) vs Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily) vs Scampi (The Chippie)
  4. Sea Bream (Vietnamese Street Food) vs Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0) vs Pork Cheek Barbicoa (Mexico)
  6. Big Apple (New York) vs Limone Siciliano (Sicily)

And it turns out I wasn’t far off the rest of the voting populace, with the final menu being the following memorable and mouthwatering delights:

  1. Chips and Cheese (The Chippie)
  2. Buffalo Chicken (New York)
  3. Pappardelle Ragu (Sicily)
  4. Cod Fish Supper (Chippie)
  5. Duck Duck Goose (Childhood 2.0)
  6. Big Apple (New York)

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Best of 2018: wonderful!

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Menu wise I can’t fault it at all. I was a little bit disappointed that the Pork Cheek Barbicoa lost out to Duck Duck Goose but given I struggled to choose between most of the options (Dish 1 and Dish 6 in particular), and the Duck dish was absolutely delicious I have little to complain about.

Worth mentioning the unvoted for snack option too, a wonderful basil pesto, cream cheese and crackers combo, chased down with a tasty little gin apertif to get the palate woken up and ready for six delightful plates of food.

The service was friendly and relaxed (the wonderful Stephanie entertained us as ever) and despite all that it offers, Six by Nico somehow seems to remain a bit of a secret; 6 courses of stellar food for under £30 and yet I’m still having to tell people to try it.

I do like the Best Of idea, it brought back memories of some very good meals and chats with my friends and, whilst we speculated as much as we always do, we are none the wiser as to what the next theme will be and that just makes it all the more exciting for the next visit.

Food Reviews SixbyNico

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I’m a massive fan of his concept restaurant Six by Nico, not to mention his first ‘main’ restaurant 111, so I was keen to head along to 333 Great Western Road to see what his take on a Gastropub would be like, aptly named Public House.

On entering it definitely looks and feels like a pub, although given all the tables are set up for dining it is a bit of a misnomer perhaps? Regardless, it has a nice cosy and relaxed vibe which I really liked.

The dinner options are all small plate, with a (smaller) vegetarian menu available, and you are advised to pick three options with maybe some chips on the side. They have a breakfast menu and a Sunday Roast dinner too which we will be back to try sometime.

From the small plate menu I opted for Crispy Pigs Head with Piccalilli and Watercress Pureee, the Cod with Crushed Parsnip, Smoked Bacon and Brown Sauce, and the Ox Cheek Pie with Bone Marrow. My partner plumped for the Chestnut Gnocchi with Sprout Tops and Sage, a Salt Baked Celeriac with Crowdie and a Truffle Jus, and Beer Battered Cauliflower with a Tartare Sauce and Mushy Peas. We added Triple Cooked Chips and Aioli to share.

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First time. Will be back!

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The dishes are brought out when they are ready and on the whole they were all pretty good. The stand out for me was the Ox Cheek Pie (even though it’s not actually a pie) which had succulent beef in a rich gravy, and a wonderfully salty pastry topper. The Cod was well cooked although nothing remarkable, and the Crispy Pigs head was essentially a ham and potato croquette, well presented and tasty but the name promised more than the plate offered.

Similarly the vegetarian plates were all well considered and cooked, and the few bites I did manage to try were very tasty. There were certainly very few complaints from the other side of the table!

Alas the triple cooked chips let us down which for something so simple was a bit surprising. In my head, triple cooked chips are crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Instead we were offered slightly greasy and wet chips which suggest the wrong potato was used? I love a good waxy potato but boiled and with butter, not fried as chips.

We finished with desserts, treacle tart with apple ice cream for me, chocolate torte with praline ice cream for my partner. Both were delicious and, thankfully, not ‘small plate’ sized!

On reflection then a good meal of well cooked food (those chips aside), in a nice relaxed atmosphere, with friendly and efficient staff, what’s not to like? The only other minor niggle is not one specific to this restaurant but getting a bill for two for £85, £30 of which is for a bottle of wine, leaves a little bit of a sour note; why is wine so expensive in restaurants? There are cheaper bottles on the wine list, but even the cheapest was £21 which is about the same price as a meal for one.

That aside, I’d happily eat there again, and I know I have some friends keen to try it out too. I may not necessarily rush back but it’s good to have another eatery in Glasgow which, I hope, will become a dependable favourite.

Food Reviews