Things are not always as they seem. Six by Nico’s raison d’être is to create a six course menu that tells a story and runs for six weeks. Then they start all over again. Think of it as a succession of pop-ups with a permanent home and the same skilled and enthusiastic curators.
The fifth concept started last week. Illusion is available until Sunday 8th October. We visited for a lunch that, we were told, would “be centred around mysterious special perceptual experiences in which information arising from how each dish seems, leads to an incorrect perception of how each dish will taste”.
We sat by the window, it’s a great table as you can see the kitchen and there is a screen discretely mounted on the wall that gives a closer look at the intricate plating process. You can also gaze out at the comings and goings on Argyle Street – Six by Nico is across the road from The Gannet and The Kelvingrove Cafe.
Usually we know a lot more about what to expect going into a meal like this. Of course, we’ve visited here before so we knew the calibre of the cooking to expect. Everything else was to be discovered. It works well that way.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the meal and leave the pictures of the dishes for the end of this post. You can scroll down if you want to see what you will be served.
We’ll make an exception for snacks, an ensemble available for £5 to kick off proceedings or to punctuate your meal. Piggy tea is is a dainty little cup with two cubes of ham hough at the bottom, on top of which you pour a pork broth with parmesan and maple syrup as added ingredients. Perfect for when September is masquerading as November and there is a bite in the air outside. They should serve this at football matches instead of Bovril.
There’s also some sourdough bread to dip in olive oil and balsamic, or in your piggy tea if you prefer.
Aperitifs available are a negroni, bellini or a gin and tonic with Edinburgh Gin. Our server recommended the bellini of peach and Prosecco.
There was a pause, then the first plate arrived and was explained. It wasn’t a plate. It didn’t look like what was on the menu and there was an element of mind-bending involved while processing what we were prodding with our fork.
The second course was served in a shell balanced on small pebbles (they really are pebbles, by the way, don’t try to eat them). It resembled two scallops sitting amidst pomegranate and sea vegetables. It wasn’t, but it was a fine collection of flavours that transcended the quirky presentation. It’s more than a gimmick. The food makes its own impression.
Third course and we spot steak tartare with an egg yolk on top heading our way. Wrong again.
The fourth dish was a layered fish dish, spiked with powerful points of competing flavours. Unusual. Bamboozling. Ultimately, a challenging mix that proved the most fun to deconstruct and inspect.
Things reach a crescendo with a splendid and comparatively straight-forward duck dish and a pretty, clever white chocolate dessert.
Now, let’s acknowledge that not everyone is going to enjoy all the tasty shenanigans. Illusion is a conversation starter, it’s thought-provoking, it’s interesting. Some of the courses hit their marks with precision, others are a bit rough around the edges. Over all, it’s food entertainment.
Six by Nico
1132 Argyle St
T: 0141 334 5661
ILLUSION MENU AT SIX BY NICO
6 course tasting menu – £25
Wine Pairing – £25
Serving from Tuesday 29th Aug – Sun 8th Oct
Soya Sauce, Sesame, Stem Ginger
Baba Ganoush, Pomegranate, Yoghurt, Sea Vegetables
Black Olive, Goats Cheese Panacotta, Nori Crackers
Shellfish Bisque, Pickled Mussels, Pancetta, Celeraic
Blueberries, Hazelnut, Wild Mushrooms, Cocoa
Passionfruit, Lime Curd, Coconut