Tucked away just off King street, Six By Nico seems to be just as busy as it was when it first opened in Manchester two years ago.
Hardly short on hype, the restaurant – known for its themed tasting menus that change every six weeks – is more than half full when we nip in at 4pm on a Monday night, not exactly peak time for dining out in the city.
Filled with young couples on dates, girlfriends catching up, and a handful of older couples on double dates (we wonder if perhaps they’ve lost patience with their own partner), Six By Nico has clearly got no trouble drawing in a crowd.
One key reason, surely, has to be that it is cheap here. Six-courses-for-£32 cheap.
Tasting menus, typically, do not come cheap – packing a dish with flavour, imagination, and quality ingredients generally tends to cost a bit of money. But chef Nico Simeone seems to have worked out a way around it.
The menu we’re here to try is called ‘Thai Fusion’ and offers – as you might expect – a selection of Thai-inspired fusion dishes, served with paired wines for the ultimate degustation experience.
We begin with an aperitif – a Mai Tai cocktail, minus its characteristic almond syrup. Technically Polynesian in origin, it’s given a fusion ‘twist’ with added lemongrass and mango.
Things kick off properly with a taster of beef massaman. Already a fusion of Thai and Indian-style curries in its own right, it’s made extra ‘fusiony’ here with the help of every chef’s favourite trick: culinary deconstruction.
Melt in the mouth aged beef tartare comes together with massaman emulsion, fermented chilli and crispy potato matchsticks to offer a tiny but delicious morsel that sets the tone for things to come (spoiler, I end up making myself a second dinner when I get home).
Next up is a twist on the spicy and sour Thai soup Tom Yum served with pork cheek that’s falling apart in a good way, and a glass of Hungarian red that tastes more like white wine in a red jacket.
It’s not the best Tom Yum I’ve ever had, coming a bit low on the spice factor, but the pork is cooked beautifully.
The pumpkin spring roll ends up being a stand-out favourite – proving big on flavour, albeit small on the plate.
The whole thing’s then finished off with a palm sugar delice – combining milk sponge cake with macadamia nuts, lychee and calamansi gel, yoghurt and mango sorbet.
It’s all accompanied by more wine, which ultimately piles up on the side of our table as I discover drinking one glass takes much longer than finishing its accompanying plate.
Selfless as always, my dining partner offers to help me out with some whilst our wonderfully-attentive server quietly whisks the rest away. She’s a good egg.
When Six By Nico first opened, there was some well-founded speculation as to how well a restaurant offering taster menus exclusively would fare. In a tricky part of town, where many restaurants (including Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian group) have failed before it, it seemed like a bit of a gamble.
Given that you can go around the corner to Rudy’s and stuff yourself silly for under a tenner, I have to wonder – is this good value for money? The answer, I think, is yes – provided you’re going for the experience or perhaps for a special occasion.
Just don’t be surprised if you end up leaving a little bit hungry.
Food & Drink
This Manchester bar is selling PINTS of Bloody Mary and a slice for six quid
Whether it’s downing pints of water before bed, spending all day on the sofa asleep, or a big fat fry-up the morning after, everyone has a favourite hangover cure.
One of ours has to be the Bloody Mary, aka the best ever hair of the dog – a mixture of spicy tomato juice, vodka, lemon, hot sauce and, in a perfect world, something smoky with pickles.
So when we heard that Manchester rock bar Jimmy’s is selling PINTS of the stuff for just six pounds with a big fat slice of focaccia-like Detroit pizza included, we felt compelled to share the good news.
After all, party season is basically upon us – and that means struggling through more hangovers than we can typically endure.
The Ancoats boozer is currently home to Manchester’s original Detroit pizza heroes Corner Slice, a long time favourite in The Manc office from day one.
The team also has a pizza shop in Failsworth, but for the next month (well, until 23 December), they’re slinging their signature slices out of the kitchen at Jimmy’s to help you soak up the booze.
The deal, which is available every day, includes a pint of Bloody Mary and a square slice of their thick deep-pan Red Top pizza: a mixture of red sauce, Corner Slice’s signature cheese blend and basil pesto.
Available every day of the week, from open until the kitchen closes, you can opt to enjoy your pint of Bloody Mary and pizza in the bar or get it to take away if you’d rather curl up on the sofa with some grease and your favourite TV show.
The brainchild of owners Frank Brashaw and Danny Broadbent, Corner Slice has made a well-deserved name for itself in Manchester thanks to serving up deep pan pizza with traditional Italian toppings and a curly cheese crust.
The popular Failsworth-originated pizzeria was the first to bring its Motor city-inspired rectangular pizza pies to Manchester after what it said was a “light bulb” moment during lockdown.
As well as the simple ‘Red Top’, some of Corner Slice’s best-loved dishes include square pies loaded with the likes of Korean Cauli, Portocini (a mix of portobello and porcini), and a number of regularly-changing specials and vegan specials.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Food & Drink
There’s a big ‘Winter Beer Fest’ happening in Manchester to kick off the new year
Once Christmas is over and the hustle and bustle of the festive season has died down, there’s often not a great deal to look forward to in January.
But this time, Manchester’s very-own GRUB has got you covered as the much-loved Winter Beer Fest is back by popular demand for 2023, and tickets are already on sale if you’re keen to kick off your new year with a pint or two.
Unfamiliar with what GRUB is?
Well, it’s a street food market space that’s located just outside the city centre at the Red Bank Project in Cheetham Hill, and it’s known for having a wide range of rotating food vendor pop-ups that provide foodies in Manchester with some of the best eats from right across the globe.
But, despite what the name suggests, and even though that may be what it’s best-known for, GRUB isn’t just about food – and, to properly see in the new year in style, the venue is once again hosting it seasonal beer festival in January.
The GRUB Winter Beer Fest gives Manchester beer lovers the chance can sip creations from some of the best local breweries.
Running from Friday 22 – Sunday 24 January 2023, over the course of the three-day festival you can expect there to be plenty of local brews to taste test – with brewery bars coming courtesy of some of the region’s best like Unbarred Brewery, Rivington Brewing Co, The Runaway Brewery, and Squawk Brewing Co.
That’s not all either, as there’ll also be over 30 guest taps too.
If you’re not a big beer lover, you can also expect a street food market, a mulling bar, pop-up tasting events, and so much more over the extended weekend.
Fancy it then?
Tickets for the GRUB Winter Beer Fest 2023 will set you back just £6, and include entry to the festival, access to the full range of beers – including all the brewery bars and guest taps – as well as branded WBF glass to take home with you afterwards.