Team TSE Taste Test The Six by Nico ‘Childhood’ Menu

As a kid, my eating habits made me a nightmare. I remember being fussy to the point of anxiety any time I went to a friend’s house for tea. I remember a lot of tantrums at the dinner table and many a dodgy deal was done to convince me to finish my meal. Even now, I wouldn’t describe myself as the world’s most adventurous eater and finishing a meal in its entirety doesn’t happen as often as it should.

Whether a fussy eater or not, we all have that one meal we loved from childhood and the one we dread to think about. For me, the latter involves out of date blue cheese venison burgers that to this day I’m still struggling to forget. In their second menu to hit Belfast’s hottest new restaurant, Six by Nico, chef and owner Nico Simeone has created a menu filled with fun, laughter and reminisce; recreating dishes inspired by memories of our childhood, to create an unforgettable dining experience – and that it certainly was.

I first visited the Six by Nico space days before their official opening in Belfast and so, the last time I’d been there it was still very much in its construction stage. It was all hands on deck, affirming the family like relationships apparent between the Six by Nico team, all of whom appear to have been brought over with Nico to run the new Belfast haunt, the latest in their chain of restaurants and the first to open outside of homeland Scotland. This time, I was ready for the big reveal.

Upon arrival, enter via a luxurious gold, velvet curtain and lose yourself in the industrial meets luxe vibes of the place. The well-lit room brings with it a certain edge with rivets in steel doors and steel decor referencing Nico’s menu creations that have gone before the current theme. Both the atmosphere and the pricing reflect the welcoming feel associated with the brand, keeping things inclusive to those looking for an affordable but up-market meal, allowing a safe space for those who truly care about their food and are ready to embrace something new from the Belfast foodie scene. The fact that they’ve opted for an open kitchen allows guests to feel as though they’re part of the menu experience from start to finish.

Things got interesting when I mentioned my gluten and dairy intolerances. The first course, the childhood classic, Mac & Cheese with a twist (caper raisin puree, cauliflower couscous and compress grapes) gluten-free style appeared as grilled cauliflower on a bed of compressed grapes and capers. Not quite the “weird but wonderful” Mac & Cheese dish enjoyed by TSE contributor, Freddie Perrins but surprisingly delicious all the same. After all, anyone who can make a plate of cauliflower interesting is good enough for me.

On to course two, the egg soldiers (crisp duck egg, black garlic emulsion, asparagus salad, cacio e pepe) and it was straight back to the kitchen of our parents, truly reminiscent of home comforts, a dish your mum would make you, only one hundred times better (sorry, Mum). As Freddie enjoyed the dish in all of its glory her final comment only needed one word, “divine.”

By the third course, we were off to the races. First came the pancakes and bacon course, one we’d both been looking forward to. Made up of fermented chickpea pancake, maple emulsion, pork belly and celeriac remoulade, this dish really hit the spot with the sweetness of the maple emulsion counteracting rich flavours from the pork belly and pancake. Next was the fish finger dish (confit salmon, buttermilk and dill dressing, kohlrabi, apple) with the salmon cooked to perfection and the apple bringing the perfect amount of sweetness to a thoroughly enjoyable main. As for the duck, (we enjoyed it so much so that my mouth is watering as I type), the dish was made up of duck breast and leg bonbon, peas and wild garlic complete with house-made ricotta. Bursting with flavour the duck was cooked perfectly tender and complemented by the sweetness of the peas and creamy texture of ricotta.

Lastly came dessert and as if by magic, childhood habits of not finishing a meal seem to have completely subsided. Nico keeps things fresh with the simple but sensational combination of the cereal milk panna cotta (compressed strawberry, peanut clusters, strawberry sorbet and bergamot/dairy free chocolate ice cream) combining the smooth, velvety texture of the strawberries with the perfect amount of crunch from the peanut clusters.

These clever six-week themes fill the gap in restaurant innovation long awaited by Belfast’s foodie community and with the brand’s value for money proposition and warm atmosphere, we’re already eagerly awaiting the next menu theme the Six by Nico team will bring to the Cathedral Quarter.

To make a reservation and to book now, visit the Six by Nico website here

Childhood’ will run from Tuesday 16th April – Sunday May 26th 2019.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman.

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