Last month, some of the DesignMyNight team (including myself) took a trip to Costa Brava for some autumn sun. The cultural hub of Barcelona was close by, famous for modernist architecture, beautiful beaches and, not forgetting, heavenly food. So, when I heard that the Six By Nico new menu, inspired by head chef Nico Simone’s recent travels, celebrated the best of Catalonia? Let’s just say I grabbed my sunnies and booked in a visit to their Fitzrovia pitstop.
If you didn’t already know, Six By Nico’s concept is simple. Expect a new, six-course themed menu that rotates every six weeks. Past topics have included the much-loved Chippie and Guilty Pleasures, plus cities like Paris or New York. Having launched in Glasgow in 2017, the Six By Nico locations have since expanded into Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff, with Birmingham on the cards for late November. Coincidentally Charlotte Street, where I visited and the sister site to Canary Wharf, is the sixth restaurant.
The Fitzrovia venue was completely full when we dropped by on a Thursday night, with excited diners enjoying every second of their culinary adventure. Once inside, you can’t help but immerse yourself in the buzzy, friendly atmosphere Six By Nico is known for. The six-course tasting menu comes in at a very reasonable £48 per person, with wine pairings an extra £35 each. We loved the welcoming, unpretentious approach here, where fancy grub needn’t come with a hefty price tag or reserved for the suited and booted.
Six By Nico's interiors are very industrial chic but with a classy, almost Parisian kinda vibe. Think monochrome chequered flooring, snakeskin-like dark wallpaper, black panelled walls, rope detailing, lush foliage and bulbs in black cages beaming low, moody lighting. The kitchen is open plan as well and straddles the whole length of the restaurant, so most tables have excellent views.
The vegetarian Six By Nico Fitzrovia menu started with 'patates braves'. At first glance, you think the dish constitutes one big chip, but on further inspection, you’ll discover it’s actually a multi-layered, intricate terrine that’s pungent with garlic aioli. The flavours continue with the lovely ricotta espuma, and once you’ve dug a little deeper you’ll find a gorgeous hidden paprika base. Wine pairings commence with the second course: Gaudí. Our host explained that this dish is inspired by Sagrada Família; think earthy colours matched with a surreal hen of the woods mushroom centerpiece. We adored the sweet and sharp notes coming from the muscatel, plus the Nutella-looking black garlic was a flavour-packed sensation. Clean plates all round. Complimenting the dish? Chile’s Soleca, Sauvignon Blanc Reserva.
Next up is the intriguingly titled El Bulli 1984 – 2011. A theatrical stage in our feast, this showstopper arrived on two plates, one nestled on top of the other. The first was an elevated take on bruschetta and the soft, charred bread was delicious. Underneath is the main draw though, just imagine different colours of tomato (including a smoky, cooked cherry variety), each bringing its own unique flavour, alongside the tapioca-like olive oil balls. We were informed the white dusting was olive oil too but for us, it was almost sugary. Still, this quirky creation still definitely delivered. The elegant Piemonte Rosato accompaniment, harking from neighbouring Italy, effortlessly blended pinot noir and white wine, counteracting each other to provide an unusual taste, one part tropical and the other savoury.
Just after we gulped the last drop, Arròs arrived at our table. This stunningly presented plate of green and white took risotto to the next level. The puffed rice provided crunch, while the slices and chunks of courgette had a nice scorched flavour. Our advice: make sure you have a spoon here, as the silky Fino Sherry Cappuccino is incredible. Unfortunately, the vino mentioned on the menu was unavailable, but don’t feel sad for us, as the creamy, apricot and peach Il Polpo was a fine replacement.
Truita followed, slapping you around the face with a punchy onion aroma before it even landed on your table. The enjoyment continued with silky soft potato encased in a delicious cheese-infused frittata, finished off with contrasting slices of refreshing grape and crispy croutons. We know saffron is subtle, but personally, I couldn’t detect much from the eggy masterpiece, but you know what was something else? The divine roasted garlic emulsion. Absolutely amazing. In between bites, the ruby red Alucinado slid down the through easily. Eagle-eyed readers will see that this fantastic medium-bodied tipple also differs from the original Six By Nico menu.
Although we thoroughly enjoyed each course, arguably our favourite part of the night was the pud: Crema Catalana. Topped by an intricate beehive pattern, this smash hit combined honey, granola-like fennel seeds, poached prune and burnt vanilla creme. Better yet, the sorbet beautifully cut through it all. Carrying on the nectar syrup theme, Luis Felipe Edwards’ Late Harvest Viognier-Sauvignon Blanc, a dry but acidic drink, closed our evening perfectly. It's a bold statement as I’m not normally one for dessert wines, but who knows, maybe now I’m a convert?
The DesignMyNight Digest
Everyone at Six By Nico Fitzrovia deserves a massive round of applause: they were so friendly throughout, patiently talking through each course with enthusiasm and a smile. The food was skilful and innovative but still respected the traditions that inspired each dish. It was a shame we had a prior arrangement and had to rush off, as quite honestly I could have stayed for an entire night. Six by Nico's next menu? We can’t wait for it either.
💰 The damage: £166 for two, excluding service charge.
📍 The location: 41 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR.
👌 Perfect for: Quirky date nights you can revisit again.
⭐ Need to know: This run concludes on Sunday 5th November, so stay tuned for the next theme.