Six new plates, every six weeks.
That’s Six By Nico in a nutshell - and whilst describing the Spring Gardens restaurant in half a dozen words does seem apt, it’s kind of doing it a disservice.
The concept of a revolving six-plate tasting menu is definitely different and undeniably intriguing, but the joy of Six By Nico isn’t limited to a gimmick. Every tiny ingredient here is picked with purpose - and the results are absolutely immense.
Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone opened the Manchester site back in summer, wisely opting to kick things off with a contemporary spin on a Mancunian classic - the Chippy Tea.
3,000 reservations were made before the doors even opened, and Simeone has been experimenting with different culinary “stories” ever since, including Asian and Catalonian menus. However, there’s no better time to book a table at his restaurant than right now.
Six By Nico is using January to reflect on their most popular plates from across the entire year; grouping them together on the same menu until February 16.
All you need to bring is £29 and an appetite.
Just be prepared: this is well-paced culinary marathon. Things start small, but the dishes grow in size as you complete each lap, with staff giving you a few minutes breather before returning with another round.
Tactically, the best approach is to go slow and savour every bite of the diminutive Bombas; which serves as an explosive introduction to the 'Best of 2019' menu.
Sinking your teeth beyond the fried breadcrumbs, you’ll get a blast of Catalonian meat - complemented perfectly by a swirl of garlic mayo.
You could easily scoff half a dozen of these and leave satisfied, but you’ll thank yourself for taking gerbil-size nibbles by the time the bill arrives.
Course Two is taken from the Thai Street Food tasting menu - a Butternut Squash Spring Roll that manages to be crispy, warm and gooey all at once.
Back in August, the standout item from the special Chippie Tea menu was arguably the posh Steak Pie - and the dish enjoys a welcome, triumphant return here on the Best Of menu for dish three; with streaks of tender meat tucked inside some soft pastry alongside onion ketchup, mushrooms and red wine.
The Milan dish - a fine cut of seabass surrounded by peperonata, aubergine caviar, and green olives from the competitive Oriental Express menu - also earns a spot among on the 'Best of 2019', whilst the beautifully soft Penang Chicken is picked as the penultimate serving; accompanied by sweet potato, papaya and peanut Salad and a magnificent coriander emulsion.
The coup de grace is the incredible Deep Fried Mars Bar, which is just as decadent as the artery-clogging snack from which it bears its name, but far more flavourful and nowhere near as nausea-inducing.
There’s a veggie alternative for each serving - so you won’t have to pull out if you don’t eat meat - and the waiting staff boast some impressive muscle memory skills so they can identify every ingredient on every plate.
During our visit, a Premiership footballer takes a seat in the corner - and that makes sense. Great stamina definitely has a role to play here - not to mention an appreciation for the best of the best...
Read more about the Six By Nico 'Best of 2019' menu and book a table here.