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Food and Drink, Reviews

Review: Six by Nico

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Chef Nico Simeone has brought his concept for affordable tasting menus to Oxford.

There is no setting quite like the roof of the Westgate; if you can manage to ignore the planning atrocities that creep into view, the dreaming spires are truly something to behold. Various bars and eateries have come and gone since the Centre’s inception and the latest addition, Six by Nico, can only benefit the existing incumbents. Already running successful ventures across the country with venues including Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Six by Nico’s reputation for creating an ambience which hits the sweet spot between casual and sophisticated vibes is manifest throughout this uber-stylish new restaurant.

Six refers to the six courses in each tasting menu, the theme of which changes every six weeks. Their launch theme, running until 30 June, is The Chippie. My lunch buddy commented he thought it was a brave choice, conjuring up visions of a piece of battered cod and a pickled egg, but edgy and brave seems to be the mantra here. The Chippie reimagines classic British fish and chip shop dishes with a gourmet twist. Each course reflecting a chippie favourite, reinvented with modern culinary techniques and top-quality ingredients.

Chips with cheese was my go-to post clubbing 40 years ago, and the beautiful presentation of the first dish, parmesan foam espuma and a curry oil twist, transformed my preferred late-night carb-hit into a playful gourmet experience. As the courses kept coming each elevated a high street standard into something modern, edgy and magnificently delicious. Any preconceptions I might have had of scampi, steak pie or smoked sausage were put to shame as each dish was innovative and playful – nodding to tradition while also thumbing its teeth.

The option to pair wines with each course is a must: each glass complimented the dish to perfection. The crispest and most delicate whites, fuller-bodied, substantial reds, and a dessert wine which partnered the much awaited (in my case with some trepidation) ‘deep fried Mars bar’. In this take on the infamous Scottish delicacy, the popular chocolate snack bar goes gourmet, served with velvety caramel sauce and Irn Bru ice cream.

I should mention the décor which was stunning – rarely outside of Crete have I enjoyed a long lazy lunch under a huge olive tree. The knowledge and service were exceptional. The food is fun, innovative, flavoursome and exciting. And the concept? In case you couldn’t tell, I loved it. Perfect, and I can’t wait for my next visit.

Six course Tasting Menu, £50. Matching wine, £39

Image Credit: Andrew Ogilvy Photography

sixbynico.co.uk

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Chef Nico Simeone has brought his concept for affordable tasting menus to Oxford.