A little background: Six by Nico is a restaurant in Glasgow’s trendy Finnieston area. Every six weeks, the menu changes completely and previous iterations have included Nico’s take on Disney, Illusion, The Picnic, and much more. I dragged my boyfriend along for the Willy Wonka menu.
When the flavours on your plate are so delicious that you laugh out loud, that’s when you know you’re onto a winner. It’s happened to me twice, once at Michael O’Hare’s Michelin-starred Man Behind the Curtain, and once, last night, at Six By Nico. The restaurant in Glasgow’s trendy Finnieston changes menu every six weeks (hence the name) and this is the third time I’ve visited, last night to try out their Willy Wonka menu. Food, wine, and chocolate…..is there a better combination?
We started off the night with a couple of Old Fashioneds at the nearby Kelvingrove Cafe. If you’re heading to Nico’s for dinner, I’d highly recommend heading here for a pre or post drink. With their vintage interiors, and cosy candles, it’s like being transported back in time. But tempting as spending the evening there was, we had a table booked at Six, so we headed over.
six by nico willy wonka
Sitting down at our cosy table, we decided to go all out and order the “snack” of white chocolate and truffle arancini and the Fizzy Lifting Juice aperitif. Both were a sign of good things to come, the Fizzy Lifting Juice tasting like a delicious, alcoholic sweetie, and the arancini a little ball of chocolatey richness.
Next up was the “cheeseboard.” The few times I’ve been here have taught me to never expect the expected at Six by Nico, and this was no different. A tiny cracker with “fizzy grapes” and cheese was served on a plate with a small decanter of green liquid. This turned out to be celery and apple gazpacho, and was a really intriguing little add-on. While the liquid tasted like both celery and apple, it smelled like barbecue, with a smoky scent that caught in the back of your throat (in a good way, I promise.) Our lovely waitress came and cleared our plates and soon, the next dish came out.
This one was written on the menu as a “beetroot dib dab” and we really weren’t sure what was about to appear. I was totally taken aback when the food came out; the plate was a riot of colour with different textures, and a big green lollipop in the middle. It turned out the lollipop was made from herb crusted mackerel, while the riots of colour were lentil dahl, beetroot cubes, and beetroot sherbet. So many odd flavour combinations, but together it worked really well.
Next up was the “duck sweetie jar” which turned out to be parfait. Sounds dull right? It wasn’t. Liver parfait was mixed with celery, blackberry chutney, and what can only be described as blackberry meringue. On the side was a crunchy hazelnut sable, which although delicious, we could have used two of. This was the dish that made us laugh. It turned my expectation of parfait on its head, and I would have licked the jar if I wasn’t in a full restaurant.
They gave us a bit of a break between courses here, which was good as I was starting to feel pretty full. Having finished the cocktails, we ordered some wine and watched the dishes being prepared on the pass. (A TV in the restaurant beams the plating process straight to diners.) We could see the “cod blackjack” being prepped and it looked exciting, with swirls, dabs, and extra touches that made it resemble art.
It looked even better by the time it made it to our tables. The swirls were clearly a liquorice sauce and the unique smell was delicious. A piece of lovely looking cod sat on a bed of risotto. “Wow, who’d have thought liquorice and fish would go together?” exclaimed my boyfriend as he took his first bites, and boy was he right. The sweetness and the tangyness went really well with the fish, and I was scraping the last of it off my plate within minutes.
I’m well-renowned for not reading a menu properly, so I assumed that “chocolate river” was the first of two desserts. So you can imagine my surprise when a big piece of chicken appeared on my table. Obviously not a dessert, “chocolate river” was, in fact, a chicken breast, sitting on a bed of chocolate (mole poblano sauce), candied olives, and chorizo popcorn. (BRB off to make myself some chorizo popcorn, because it was a revelation.) Although it all sounds a bit odd, it was great. And that’s why people keep coming back to Six by Nico every time the menu changes; he really knows what to do with flavours. Every part of every meal contains a surprise, and even if you doubt the combinations, they always turn out well in the end.
The dessert was probably the most traditional part of the menu. Peanut butter cheesecake was deconstructed, with amarena cherry in a jelly, with chocolate soil. At this point we also got a lovely minty, orangy chocolate bar. It was lovely, but perhaps a bit large and rich at the end of the meal so we took ours away to enjoy later. (Ok, full disclosure, we ate it in bed when we got home.)