Last night I was lucky enough to plant my ever-so eager self down on a seat in the new Six By Nico restaurant in Liverpool and what a tale I have to tell.
If you’ve landed on this review looking for reassurance that you should book a table then let me waste no time in saying: yes, yes, one million times YES!
If, like me, you’re going to need more information than that (all the gory details) then grab yourself a glass of wine or a brew and keep on scrolling…
The North John Street restaurant itself is really cool, from the engraved door handles right down to the antique tiling on the floor and everything in between.
The whole aesthetic is sort of oldy-worldy, Gatsby meets Pirate of the Caribbean and I – amongst many other camera-wielding guests – was lapping it up.
A cabinet of curiosity-style storage unit breaks up the open plan space which is filled with immaculately dressed, dark wood furniture and a warm, toasty glow permeating from the rows of swinging filament bulbs snaked around exposed beams on lengths of rugged rope.
As you might expect from a fine dining establishment such as Six By Nico, the kitchen has been framed as a real focal point, running almost the entire back stretch of the restaurant.
The team of chefs – some illustrated with tattoos up to their ears – are the epitome of contemporary kitchen cool in their black tees and branded khaki aprons.
They dip and dive between each other, alternating between sauce slinging and quenelle-ing over the pass with a hypnotic concentration – doing Chef Nico Simeone himself proud.
The vibe and atmosphere are equal parts cosy and sophisticated, split perfectly down the middle between energetic and laidback.
Making fine dining more readily accessible is the Six By Nico mantra and this has most definitely been achieved in spectacular surroundings without so much as a sniff of pretentiousness.
Think impeccable service, premium food but with Brimful of Asha and Blondie playing in the background. In fact, I’m not convinced they weren’t playing my Spotify playlist…
The current Six By Nico Liverpool taster menu
Where do I even start with the food menu at Six By Nico? I’ll begin, for those who don’t know, by explaining that it is always a six-course taster menu but that the menu changes on a six-weekly basis.
Dishes on the list are always inspired by a story, a destination, a memory or a theme. The dining style here is described as a ‘unique culinary adventure’ and you certainly can’t argue with that.
The current motif goes by the name ‘The Chippie’ and is a nostalgic homage to the classic flavours found in a quintessentially British chip shop.
I’ll summarise by saying that every single morsel was sensational of its own merit with ingenious flavour combinations that were expertly curated and sophisticated but still fun enough to put a big beaming smile on your face.
We kick started proceedings with a Snack Box (pictured above) which was filled with sliced bread, creamy butter, a battered hen’s egg and a homemade brown sauce. I’ve never fancied a pickled egg out of those big jars on the counter of the chippy but this was a pickled egg even I could get onboard with.
Then came the 6-course set taster…
ONE: ‘Chips & Cheese’ (pictured above) – a small salt & vinegar potato croquette bathing in a stunning parmesan cheese foam, sprinkled with salt & vinegar ‘scraps’ and drizzled with curry oil. The curry oil was mild – virtually undetectable – but the light-as-you-like cheese espuma is an absolute masterpiece.
TWO: ‘Scampi’ – Breaded monkfish cheeks with a mushy pea emulsion, herb butter sauce and gribiche, which I learnt was a mayonnaise-style garnish meant to emulate a classic tartare sauce.
THREE: ‘Steak Pie’ (pictured above) – A melt-in-the-mouth piece of beef shin slathered in red wine reduction, accompanied by a silky mushroom duxelle, sliced mushroom and a stunning burnt onion ketchup. I might have liked to see a more obvious nod to the shortcrust pie pastry you find in the chip shop here if I were to be pernickety but still, fabulous.
FOUR: ‘Fish Supper’ – A chunk of flaky, snow-white cod on top of a flavoursome confit fennel with samphire and beer pickled mussels. Mussels so sweet in fact, that my partner in dine for the evening dared to try them for the first time and proceeded to polish off the lot.
FIVE: ‘Smoked Sausage’ – Diced pork belly rolled into crispy batter to emulate the iconic battered sausage with salt baked celeriac, sweet caramelised apple and cubes of black pudding, all served in a dome of smoke lifted at the table. Theatrics of style and substance for a curiously sweet savoury plate.
SIX: ‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’ – Semi-bitter chocolate mousse with dark chocolate shards, orange sorbet, an aerated orange foam and a bubbling hot nugget of deep-fried Mars Bars which almost glued your tongue to the roof of your mouth – heavenly. Quite possibly the best dessert I have ever had the pleasure of tucking into.
(All pictured above)
Is there a vegetarian menu at Six By Nico Liverpool?
There is indeed and seeing as I’m still the midst of my Veg Pledge to raise money for Cancer Research, this was my order of the evening so I can tell you a little bit more about the vegetarian options…
It stays as loyal to the standard menu as possible, swapping out meat and Parmesan cheese for veggie-friendly alternatives.
Again, every single morsel brought something special to the table with intricate flavour combinations and curation which never made ‘the veggie option’ an afterthought for one moment.
Highlights for me were the feta cheese espuma moat around the little salt & vinegar croquette, the root veg, spinach & feta roll (pictured above) which stood in place of the Smoked Sausage, the chargrilled halloumi with celeriac (pictured above) and that orgasmic dessert which of course, was exactly the same on both menus – I just wanted an excuse to mention it all over again.
For an extra few pounds each, diners can also embellish their six-course taster menu with a thematic aperitif and I strongly implore that you do.
The short muddle of Prosecco, Earl Grey and lemon which came as part of ‘The Chippie’ arsenal (pictured above) is quite possibly the very last thing I would ever order from a drink menu but boy, do I stand corrected. It was sweet but not sickly and subtle in strength which, as someone who isn’t big into booze, I certainly appreciated.
What set it all off though was the wooden ‘chippy’ fork which teetered on the rim of the glass, holding a mound of green powder which turned out to be a sherbet of samphire and sea salt. Again, not something that would usually get my mouth watering but once the sherbet was stirred into the golden liquid, it was a complete and utter delight.
For an additional £26pp, guests can add a bespoke wine flight to their taster menu which offers a glass of wine with each course, paired specifically to the flavours of the dish.
My partner in dine for the evening knows a thing or too about her vino and assured me (the wine novice) that each was the perfect match – from the robust smoky red which accompanied the beef shin, to the orange blossom and honey dessert wine which elevated the sweet finale to such unforgettable climax.
I’m counting the weeks until I can go back for the next instalment but you can still catch ‘The Chippie’ edit until December 22nd . Welcome to Liverpool, Six By Nico – I think you’re going to be very happy here.
I was very kindly invited to review Six By Nico but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.