Susan Welsh samples the new Thai food fine-dining experience Six by Nico, all specially delivered to her home.
I first heard of Scottish chef Nico Simeone from my daughter Catherine, when she was living in Glasgow. She raved about the tasting menus at his Finnieston restaurant, which offered a six-course fine-dining experience for £25, and a themed menu which changed every six weeks.
Persuading me to try it was easy; booking was much harder as word had quickly spread about what a superb offering it was. Eventually we were successful and I loved the whole theatrical experience.
When he introduced Six by Nico to Edinburgh, we ate there too. His concept turned the fine-dining scene on its head, and Nico quickly became one of Scotland’s most talked about chefs.
While his six-course tasting menu, now priced £29, is still very reasonable, when you live outwith the central belt, trying it can involve extra costs. For example, living in Inverness, it costs us about £50 on diesel for a round trip, and if unable to stay with relatives, we have to fork out for a B&B, which all adds up.
But joy of joys, Nico has come up trumps by creating Home By Nico. He’s joined forces with At Home-X, a company delivering food, drink and lifestyle experiences to your door.
Nico said: “When we were forced to close the Six by Nico restaurants across the UK, we gave fans of the brand a chance to make our signature tasting menu at home and the feedback was phenomenal.
“We packed and distributed over 100,000 meals across sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Belfast, but we felt there was so much scope to service the rest of the UK, and to give our customers even more dining options at home.”
The experience is about as far removed from having a takeaway meal delivered as you can get.
For £60 – that includes delivery – you receive a chilled, carefully prepared, four-course restaurant meal for two plus a bottle of carefully chosen wine to complement the meal, delivered directly to your door.
The recyclable box is massive, more than two feet wide, and unwrapping it is genuinely exciting as everything is beautifully presented. Once popped in the fridge, it stays fresh for 48 hours.
The current theme is Thai street food and having set the table nicely, all I had to do was follow the instructions which came in a lovely, keepsake booklet, complete with a menu card. The starter of Tom Yum soup with wonton-style prawn dumplings just needed to be warmed in a pan.
Deliciously hot and sour, with a slightly salty, fishy tang, it kicked our tastebuds into life. Our main course was a red curry, inspired by the island of Penang.
For this al I had to do was pop the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes before serving with a creamy spicy sauce, sweet potato, baby sweetcorn and pak choi. Accompaniments included a pork pad Thai salad that was crisp and fresh, with ribbons of noodles and carrots; a flavoursome dressing and crispy shallots and peanut topping.
The steamed jasmine rice just needed microwaved for a few minutes. Combined, they created a fantastic main course, packed with layers of flavour and different textures – it really could not be faulted.
After a suitable pause, we tucked into exotic cardamom and coconut toasted rice pudding, warmed through in a pan, and accompanied by a pot of tropical fruits and a salted caramel sauce. The rice was so rich it really didn’t need the extras, but that didn’t stop us from wolfing them down!
To finish, there was a very large wedge of Landana 500 cheese, water biscuits and a pineapple and Nigella chutney. Despite leaving it out to reach the correct room temperature, I thought the cheese tasted like a stodgy/waxy Edam.
I wouldn’t seek it out again, but would do the wine – Le Sentier Blanc, 2018 – crisp, fresh and a wonderful palate cleanser. Our “at home” experience was first class, one we will definitely try again.
Good food and wine, home comforts and no hotel or fuel bills to pay.
What’s not to like?
Visit the website to order: home-x.com/pages/home-by-nico