Six By Nico Manchester, 60 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BQ – Visit Now
Six weeks pass and it’s time for the new menu at fine-dining restaurant Six By Nico. This time it’s alpine-themed, and – whisper it – could this be their best one yet? Titled ‘Cooking The Alps’, it’s loosely based around produce and cuisine found in the mountainous regions across Europe, so expect rich, clean flavours, prepared as only Nico knows how.
We gobble it down greedily – it’s as good as anything Nico’s ever done
You know the drill by now, six courses, that weave a story, starting small and building to big bold courses, before cleansing the palate with dessert. First up, ‘raclette fondue’, but there’s no 70s-style keys-in-the-bowl party here, merely a simple stone pot, full of soft gooey cheese, with a cocktail stick lay across it, holding up a slice of gherkin, a cube-shaped fritter of deep-fried pigs head and a chunk of quince. We gobble it down greedily – it’s as good as anything Nico’s ever done.
The next course, ‘Salmon on the Rhine’ is where things kick into gear. A bright green pea emulsion containing various types of pumpkin, and a lighter-than-air cracker, dotted with blobs of horseradish emulsion and apple and dill dressing. It tastes as beautiful as it looks.
Then, ‘Tartiflette’. A plate of mostly green elements: barbecued broccoli, various dashes and dots of differently-shaded sauces, with a cuboid of tartiflette (potato, onions, cheese) in the middle, with a light but aromatically satisfying grating of reblochon cheese scattered across the top, alongside some pickled walnuts. Six By Nico’s dishes are always a joy to sniff before eating, but this alpine menu is especially intoxicating on that front.
‘Risotto du Crozets’ does what it says on the tin. A vegetarian risotto made from minute pasta cubes, hen of the woods mushrooms, potent truffle and a dramatic swoosh of pesto bianco. It’s the meatiest, earthiest dish on the menu, despite containing no meat whatsoever.
The fifth course is often the most impressive, with the sense that each preceding course is building toward this, and ‘Chicken & Pork Farcon’ is no exception. Again, the powerful aroma is almost as pleasurable as the taste itself. Here, there’s a cylinder of chicken and pork, tangled up with hispi cabbage, on a meat sauce and sauerkraut ketchup, each element delicious individually but magical together. The aioli is possibly overkill, adding just one ultra-rich flavour too many, but the dish as a whole is phenomenal.
Finally, ‘Snowballs’, based on the ever-popular coconut-based chocolate cake snack, similar to Nico’s inspired take on the deep-fried Mars bar, that was voted his best dessert so far by visitors. The Mars bar has a contender for the crown, as this is an unbeatable end to the meal – gooey pistachio sauce inside and thoroughly coated with coconut shavings, next to a fitting chunk of chargrilled pineapple and a puddle of passionfruit caramel.
Measure for measure, Six By Nico is shaping up to be Manchester’s best restaurant. The courses are always a delight, complex but easy to understand, and with a smart, modern ever-changing theme that brings together diners from all ages, palates and income. If you haven’t been yet, this current alpine menu is the perfect place to begin – arguably the most fun menu in the city, and then some.