The new restaurant from Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone, Six by Nico will serve a completely new six course menu every six weeks when it officially opens this weekend in the former Roc & Rye site on Spring Gardens.
Born in Glasgow to Italian parents, Nico was raised in a family of Mediterranean foodies. His earliest memories are of his mother’s Italian cooking, helping her in the kitchen and large family meals around the table.
The new Spring Gardens restaurant will be the first in England, and will replicate the concept of his Six by Nico restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast.
And the revamped venue looks to be an immediate hit with the people of Manchester. Over 3,000 reservations have already been made in advance of doors opening this week.
The first menu has been announced for the first six weeks – and it’s themed around the local chip shop. We went to try it out.
‘The Chippie’ menu is a nostalgic nod to the past, with six dishes created based on the classics found in a traditional British fish and chip shop, each one re-imagined and re-created with a contemporary twist.
The new menu includes the most popular chip shop dishes, with items including chips and cheese, steak pie, fish supper and the classic deep-fried Mars bar. But there’s more to it than that, of course.
The six-course menu is priced at £29 per person, and diners will have the option to enjoy an expertly selected wine pairing for an additional £26.
We start with an aperitif, named Seaside to fit in with the theme, which is made with Earl Grey tea, prosecco, samphire and fizzy sherbet.
Snacks include a crisp Manchester Egg with black pudding and homemade brown sauce, and chewy sourdough bread with meaty chicken fat butter.
The first dish of the six is Chips & Cheese, which consists of a crisp salt and vinegar potato croquette with a drizzle of curry oil and a rich, comforting cheesy Parmesan sauce. “I could drink that sauce by the jugful,” says my dining companion.
Scampi sees a deep-fried battered monkfish cheek sat on a mushy pea emulsion with pea gel, herb butter sauce and gribiche.
The wine pairing for the Scampi is an Alvarinho from Portugal, full of aromas of apple and pear and citrussy notes to cut through the rich buttery sauce.
Then Steak Pie arrives, a modern interpretation with slow-cooked fall-apart beef shin, burnt onion ketchup, mushroom duxelle and fresh mushrooms, and boozy hit of red wine.
The wine match is a medium-bodied South African red with red berry and cherry aromas and lingering notes of soft spice towards the end.
There’s also a Fish Supper, of course, with tender flaky cod fillet, confit fennel, samphire, beer pickled mussels and brandade.
The Spanish Verdejo wine match is full-bodied with aromas of peach and apricot, and a citrussiness which goes perfectly with the fennel.
And the last of the savoury dishes is Smoked Sausage, which arrives under a smoky glass cloche which is lifted at the table to reveal the dish. It consists of pork belly, salt baked celeriac, caramelised apple and black pudding. A vegetarian version has sweet potato, spinach and feta.
The wine match is an Australian red with red berries, raspberry and cranberry on the nose and dark fruits to balance out the sweetness of the apple of the dish.
For pudding, there’s a hint of Nico’s Glasgow roots with Deep-Fried Mars Bar, albeit an elegant version consisting of Caramelia chocolate mousse, aerated orange chocolate, orange sorbet and cocoa nib.
It’s sweet and sticky and delicious, and there’s a syrupy Italian dessert wine from Piemonte to go with this one.
“I’m really excited to bring my concept to Manchester, the first of my restaurants in England, as I love the city and I am looking forward to seeing the reaction from our diners,” says Nico.
“Six by Nico is a totally different dining experience and I hope that people will leave having had an unforgettable meal.”
It’s a great concept for Manchester, offering really good value for money and the chance to keep trying something new.
We can’t wait to see what the next menu will be in six weeks time.