If you’re a fan of the Great British chippie, you’re going to want to check out this new opening. Based on the humble fish ‘n’ chip shop and all it’s gloriously beige, battered and bad for you foods, Six By Nico in Canary Wharf is the brainchild of Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone, who has taken those famous dishes and elevated them into a stunning six-course tasting menu. We had the pleasure of road testing the restaurant on opening night. Here’s everything you need to know…
Nico is a chef who rips up the rulebook creating concept menus that run for six weeks at a time and centre around a six course tasting menu – hence the restaurant’s name.
He’s previously created a menu based on the nostalgic delights of childhood, the spices of Bangkok, and he’s soon to launch an Amalfi Coast inspired run – it’s safe to say that this is a chef who runs at a fast pace, can turn his hand to just about any cuisine and ensures there’s no time for his restaurants or menus to become tired. Every six weeks there’s a new reason to go back – that’s just savvy business sense.
The current menu is based on the humble fish ‘n’ chip shop and all it’s gloriously beige, battered and bad for you foods.
The Chippie is evidence of that. Taking simple takeaways classics and reinventing them into tiny, beautiful dishes that marry together to make a near perfect tasting menu. But let’s be clear here, when we say ‘British chippie’ we’re really talking about a Scottish chip shop. If you’ve yet to frequent one north of the border you won’t know that English ones pale in comparison, from the way they fillet the fish (no slimy skin left on a Glasgee fish supper) to the airlight batter, the behind the counter banter to the obligatory can of Irn-Bru and, yes, the infamous deep fried Mars Bar to finish – along with the telephone, it’s one of Scotland’s greatest inventions.
And so, given Nico’s Glasgow-Italian roots (many of the city’s fish ‘n’ chip shops have been run by Italian families for generations now), the Six by Nico menu takes notes from a truly Scottish chippie.
The menu kicked off with ‘Chips & Cheese’: a plate of Parmesan espuma – posh word for foam – with a curry oil emulsion on top, playing on the end-of-the-night classic chips, cheese and curry sauce. The plate gave way to a bowl beneath it with the perfect crispy potato terrine, cut into chip-like fingers. The idea is that you dip them into the sauce just like you would on the pavement with a wooden fork at 2am, only fancier, and we can easily say we would have happily licked the bowl clean.
Next up, Scampi, only made with meaty monkfish cheek (heavenly) loaded onto a rich beurre blanc sauce and sweet, slightly mushy peas. And the main event, the Fish Supper was a refined version of the much-loved dish using Shetland cod with pickled mussels, confit fennel and salty samphire with a beer emulsion.
As with all good chippies, the menu serves up two meat courses. The first, an adorable mini steak pie made with melt-in-the-mouth Speyside beef shin and served with mushrooms and a tangy onion ketchup. And secondly, after the fish supper, we tucked into the ‘Smoked Sausage’ course. Now, we’re not au fait with a sausage dinner from the chippy but know they are a big deal, so it felt only right that it makes the Big Six. It was, like the rest, utterly delicious – a trio of pork with sharp apple and unami black pudding (another Scotch chippie favourite) with salty celeriac.
In true Glasgow chip shop style, the menu is finished off with the infamous deep fried Mars Bar. If the idea rolls your eyes and turns your stomach, believe us when we say it’s really rather good, and Nico’s version is sublime. Firstly, his isn’t really a Mars Bar at all, but a sliver of indulgent chocolate pavé with a deep fried dough ball on top, served on top of chocolate soil and, the best bit, a dollop of Irn-Bru sorbet. It not only finished off the concept menu perfectly but summed up Nico’s ability to refine the mundane and not take food too seriously, perfectly.
But the best bit in all of this is perhaps the price. After a global pandemic when punter’s belts are possibly a little tighter, the whole menu comes in at a very reasonable (and, in our opinion almost daylight robbery) price of £37 for the whole thing, and just £33 for a really decent wine pairing. It’s ironic given that the restaurant has opened in Canary Wharf where pockets tend to be a little deeper than most.
The Chippie is only running until 19th September, when Nico will turn his hand to something else. Best get in their quick before it sells out. We’re hoping to get back for one last supper before it transforms into something else.
Six by Nico’s ‘The Chippie’ will run until Sunday 19th September.
6 Chancellor Passage, Canary Wharf, London E14 5EA