THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Affordable fine dining used to be an oxymoron. Chef Nico Simeone has turned it into a concept. Six courses for £37 and paired wines for another £33 is great value for money. It works. He now has 6 shops throughout the UK. During the meal I kept thinking of Eartha Kitt. “With my Champagne taste and your beer bottle pockets…”
Fitzrovia is my fav foodie hood in London. Great restaurants without the ostentation. Six by Nico fits in perfectly. Naked bulb lighting, bistro tables sans linen, and the music is chosen for the young going-out crowd rather than the fine dining set. Service is friendly, fast and very competent.
The menu changes every 6 weeks and from now until 8 August the theme is “Shanghai”.
A Yù Yuán Spritz of gin, lychee, sparkling wine and rose was a pleasant mix for another £7.50 but the snacks for an extra fiver are not to be missed! Warm and crusty sourdough came with fabulous red miso butter. This is something I will definitely steal and pretend I invented it! King prawn toast was elevated to new heights. Coated in sesame seeds, it was crisp, delicious eye candy.
Rich and succulent Char Siu pork came in a happily unsweetened steamed bun with a flavour packed broth. A real lip smacker.
Dengzhou chicken was a highlight. Beautifully presented and the flavours hit every note. Tender chicken wrapped in pancetta with fennel, shimiji mushrooms, savoury crumb and a nori seaweed dust that added a fab hit of umami. A Vie d’Amor Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2020 was a tart but good pairing. In general, the wine is not on a par with the food, but for the price, that simply isn’t possible.
Mushroom Medicine was the most intense dish. Enoki crackling, similar to tempura was one of my favourite bites of the night. Unfortunately, the cep pancake was my least. It was stodgy and nothing like the crispy Asian pancakes I adore. The dish has full on mushroom flavour but without the nuance and spectrum Simeone is capable of. A Crozes-Hermitage 2019 with hints of chocolate and pepper was a good match.
Cod and Peanut sauce didn’t work. The fish was well prepared but the peanut sauce was turned into a foam and lost its punch and the cod croquette lacked seasoning. Dressed buckwheat noodles were delicious but couldn’t save the dish. A False Bay Vineyards Chenin Blanc had a slight blush and a hint of sweetness.
Black beef and broccoli ended the savory courses with a bang. Beautiful, tender, rare beef with choy sum, pickled ginger and an ox cheek potsticker was a standout. The Listening Station Malbec with hints of eucalyptus paired well.
Dessert was aptly named: Matcha Made in Heaven. Matcha and lychee custard with raspberries and white chocolate was the pièce de résistance. Matching the matcha, a Clos Ricarde Chronos had both sweetness and acid.
Getting Shanghaied has never been better!