When I think of tasting menus? I think of elaborate explanations, ingredients I can’t quite pronounce and a mahoosive bill at the end of the night, sometimes paired with a rumbling stomach. So, when I heard that there was a shiny new Fitzrovia spot that was promising fine-dining without the pretension (or the price tag), my interest was piqued.
Six By Nico already has several venues across the UK, spanning Glasgow to Liverpool, Edinburgh to Manchester and beyond, but this is the group’s first venture south, originally set to go ahead in March but postponed thanks to Corona-chaos. The concept is pretty simple: six courses, served for six weeks only, and priced at an oh-so-reasonable £35 (with the option to tag on a wine pairing for another £33).
Located on Charlotte Street, this new venue’s clean exterior and stylish street tables fit right in with its trendy neighbours (which include ROKA and Pied a Terre). And the chic continues inside - think dark woods, vintage posters and an open kitchen that spans half the restaurant, complete with several tattooed chefs, all busy at work.
And it’s not hard to understand their furrowed brows when you take a look at what they’re cooking up. Because this ain’t any old tasting menu though, oh no - every six weeks, the team take on an entirely new and novel theme - from ‘The Chippie’ to ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ and the current London offering - ‘Childhood’.
A celebration of teatime classics, the menu was made up of eggy soldiers, fish fingers and mac’n’cheese - all given that magic Nico Simeone touch, naturally. Our standout dishes? A rich ox-cheek lasagna topped with parmesan espuma that put even my mum’s version to shame. And the fish fingers - created from salmon tartare, kohlrabi, lime gel and a punchy shaoshing dressing, which was fresh and zesty, and paired with a pale Languedoc rosé - a fry cry away from the Birdseye classic that would have my tummy rumbling at 5pm, but all the more delicious.
And while duck didn’t feature heavily in my teatime repertoire (unless stuffed in pancakes and doused in hoisin), the duck duck goose’s XO breast paired perfectly with a ball of crispy gnocchi and a pumpkin and black garlic emulsion. Washed down with a full-bodied red from burgundy? It was a melt-in-the-mouth, don’t-want-it-to-end kind of experience.
Reigniting those childhood feelings of giddy excitement, desert was a theatrical affair, arriving in a haze of dry ice was a fruity Savarin Creme, served alongside a super sweet glass of Alasia Brachetto 2018. A delight for those with a sweet-tooth, the wine tasted ever-so-slightly like that glass of Shloer you were allowed to have in a grown-up's glass on Christmas day - the perfect finish to a deliciously indulgent dinner.
Service was snappy and we whizzed through our six courses and wines in 90 minutes - making it the perfect option for a time-limited lunch or pre-theatre treat (just don’t be surprised when that fifth glass of wine hits you half-way through the first act).
The DesignMyNight Digest
Having woo’d the Scots, the Scousers and the Mancunians, it was about time Nico Simeone tackled London’s foodies. Offering a theatrical dining experience that won’t break the bank, and yet still feels special, Six By Nico is bringing something new and exciting to the capital at the time the city needs it most - and I, for one, can't wait to return.
Six By Nico can be found at 41 Charlotte Street (W1T 1RR). The six-course tasting menu is priced at £35, and the wine pairing is an additional £33. There is also a vegetarian menu on request, and the team are happy to adapt to dietary requirements.