Set in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, Six by Nico differs from other restaurants by offering a 6-course tasting experience, alternating every 6 weeks, which is themed upon a different place or memory. Nico and his team research the chosen experience in great detail, visiting the countries or cities and soaking up as much of the culture as possible, from cooking with the locals, to eating in high-end restaurants and pairing dishes to perfection. Our visit to the restaurant brought a taste of Tokyo in which Nico and his team found a bounty of inspiration for the tasting menu which had been adapted and curated to celebrate Japanese food and ingredients. Their website gives you an insight into their time spent in Japan, learning about the culture as they go.
The restaurant holds a maximum of 6 guests per table to ensure small gatherings and the attention to detail was easily recognisable. The interior had the essence of Tokyo, decorated with dark woods, teal walls, and a feature wall with gold leaf paper. The array of greenery and plants also added to the details, alongside the buzz of the restaurant, it made you feel as though you were living the Tokyo lifestyle.
The tasting experience began with course 1, Chicken Karaage, typically a bento box favourite. This well-known street food dish had been ‘pimped’ up. A crispy battered chicken thigh with toasted, sweet yet spicy notes from the togarashi, topped with oroshi shoga ginger. Freshly sliced ginger, orange in colour, adding a warming note to the dish.
Course 2, Tempura. A typical Japanese dish usually consisting of seafood, meat and vegetables in the lightest of light batter. Six by Nico put their twist on this dish, using enoki mushroom as the base of the tempura. The mushroom added texture and earthiness to the dish against the crisp, saltiness from the tempura batter. The pickled daikon, sometimes known as a winter radish, cut through the richness of the batter, brought together with the tangy, ponzu sauce. There were notes of salt and vinegar running through this dish adding a Western twist.
Course 3, Okonomiyaki. A Japanese savoury pancake not that dissimilar to a frittata texture. The pancake batter filled with chunks of pork and prawns, made with flour, eggs and cabbage. The okonomi sauce adds a powerful sweet, umami flavour to the dish. Made from dates, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar the sauce paired perfectly with the Japanese mayonnaise which added a rounded creaminess.
Course 4, Ramen. A deep, smoky, rich dashi broth topped with a charred, barbequed miso sea bass which had been cooked on the open grill lending the sea bass to have the crispest of skin and flaking flesh! The egg yolk jam added a richness to this dish which is common in Japanese culture as they often serve a soft boiled egg on the top of a ramen bowl.
Course 5, Tonkatsu. A Japanese dish that consists of breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. Their take on this classic dish included a yakitori ham jam which was sweet and bbq like, but with a hint of umami. The pork melted in the mouth, and paired well when eaten with the sweet Hokkaido pumpkin which added a bold colour to the dish.
Course 6, Strawberry candy. A work of art on a plate and didn’t disappoint on flavour. The white chocolate parfait, perfectly smooth and creamy with the candied and pickled strawberries reminded us of summer. The matcha cake added a grassy note with naturally sweet nuttiness, as well as a touch of bitterness with a pleasant savory ending. Overall, a fresh, vibrant, creamy dish to end a tasting menu inspired from Tokyo.
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