Ancient Rome at Six by Nico
Primely located in Hanover Street, Six by Nico brings a new theme and menu every six weeks to the Edinburgh food scene. We visited to taste the six course tasting menu inspired by Ancient Rome.
A warm welcome is evident behind the face mask and we are seated next to a couple celebrating double promotions and a lady clearly here to enjoy the food and the atmosphere. Contemporary décor and music give a lively vibe and at 9.30pm the restaurant is full. An open kitchen allows patrons to enjoy the art of plating, because we eat with our eyes, too.
Our server is friendly and knowledgeable and tells us that the chefs researched Apicius, one of the world’s oldest culinary books to find ideas for the menu. Popular foods were cabbage, eggs, asparagus, cheeses, honey, so vegetarians were well served. Some meat, including offal, but also chicken, goat and fish were also part of the Roman diet. Variety on the table signalled wealth and a well-travelled host.
The trip to Ancient Rome starts with Cacio e Pepe (crispy pasta), then to flow with the theme, I am presented with a Boiled Duck Egg covered in a thin crispy shell, which combined with hazelnut, white asparagus and brown butter is delicious. Next is the most commented upon dish of the night: the humble Cabbage, given a spotlight and accompanied by cavatelli pasta in a supporting role. Pickled girolle mushrooms add colour and acidity and to finish the dish, a truffle foam with pecorino Sardo lends body and elevates the flavours of the cabbage.
‘The Bay of Naples’, dish number four does not disappoint. Sole, served with white turnip and mussel cream, smoked mussel and lovage is the star of the night for me. Indulging ‘wow’ factor, this dish has a big entrance under a smoke-filled cloche. Flavours are well- balanced and the fish beautifully cooked. It speaks for itself making the the bells and whistles entrance superfluous. The wine pairing is a glass of Frascati Superiore, from Lazio Italy, with tropical notes, a slight mousse but it is also full-bodied enough to cut through the smoke. A good match as each sip complements the range of flavours on the plate.
Next, is dish number five - the vegetarian option for me, which celebrates a popular Roman food: Artichoke. Finally, dish number six pays homage to Honey, the key sweetener in Ancient Rome.
The cost is £32 pounds for the six course tasting menu, and £27.00 for matching wines. Additional snacks are available for £6.00, but we did not need them.
The experience is good value for a tasting menu, paired wines (note: there are good non-alcoholic options) and knowledgeable staff.
Six by Nico are cooking Ancient Roma until April 24.
SNACKS Per Person - £6 REGULAR Freshly Baked Spelt Bread, Olive Tapenade & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Artichoke Fritti and Anchovy Emulsion VEGETARIAN Freshly Baked Spelt Bread, Olive Tapenade & Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Artichoke Fritti and Lemon Emulsion CACIO E PEPE Crispy Pasta, Black Pepper & Parmesan Royale VEGETARIAN CACIO E PEPE Crispy Pasta, Black Pepper & Goat's Cheese FROM EGGS TO NUTS White Asparagus, Crispy Duck Egg, Hazelnut & Brown Butter VEGETARIAN FROM EGGS TO NUTS White Asparagus, Crispy Duck Egg, Hazelnut & Brown Butter MATCHING WINE ADEUS, RIBEIRO DO Treixadura & Torrontés, Bodegas Campante Galacia, Spain
CAVOLO HISPI ARROSTITO Roasted Hispi Cabbage, Cavatelli Pasta, Pickled Girolle Mushrooms, Truffle Foam & Pecorino Sardo VEGETARIAN CAVOLO HISPI ARROSTITO Roasted Hispi Cabbage, Cavatelli Pasta, Pickled Girolle Mushrooms, Truffle Foam & Pecorino Sardo MATCHING WINE DUAS MARGENS, DOURO BRANCO DOC Quinta da Vacaria. Douro, Portugal
THE BAY OF NAPLES Sole, Smoked Mussel, Lovage, White Turnip & Mussel Cream VEGETARIAN RISOTTO APII Risotto of Parsley, Garlic and Porcini Mushrooms MATCHING WINE FRASCATI SUPERIORE DOCG Casale Marchese, Lazio, Italy THE GREAT FEAST OF AD14 Belly, Fillet and Rib of Pork with Fennel, Bean Ragu, Date & Apple VEGETARIAN VIGNAROLA ALLA ROMANA Baked Globe Artichoke, Leek, Curd, Toasted Hazelnut & Walnut Foam MATCHING WINE SEI PIATTI, CABERNET D’ATINA DOC Natural Wine, I Ciacca SRL, Lazio, Italy (Produced and Bottled for SixByNico)
HONEY & CHEESE Honey Parfait, Ricotta Cheese, Preserved Quince, Fizzy Muscat Grapes, Pear & Citrus VEGETARIAN HONEY & CHEESE Honey Parfait, Ricotta Cheese, Preserved Quince, Fizzy Muscat Grapes, Pear & Citrus MATCHING WINE L’ARCANO, PRIMITIVO IGT DOLCE Tenuta Giustini, Puglia, Italy