A feast fit for a Roman god at Six by Nico Liverpool

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Six By Nico Roman theme

I am writing this on International Happiness Day. That seems appropriate somehow. At His & Hers we have had our fair share of heart-warming comfort food. I suspect though Six by Nico is working at a whole elevated level. Think Saturnalia (I know it is not December), but there is a carnival atmosphere, and it feels like a festival of fine food.

Feature by Jean Hill

Six by Nico brings in their team of chefs to do the ‘prep’. And it is not a small scale undertaking. I’m sitting looking at a scroll menu, with beautiful illustrations, that represents a relic of the splendours of Ancient Rome.

The restaurant is decorated in subtle tones: polished wood and stone-coloured walls which is stylish, welcoming and immensely comfortable.

We were looked after by Cerys, who was ridiculously knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. If she didn’t know the answer to any query about the cooking techniques, she consulted the chefs and returned with detailed instructions. Begin at the aperitif, which was Posca Spritz: Aperol, grape and basil infused honey, lemon and Prosecco. Simply divine. Fit for a god. The tasting menu with accompanying wines is six courses. The snack course was spelt bread with olive tapenade.

The next course involved crispy pasta, with Parmesan Royale: the pasta was absolutely fresh and the ‘sauce’ had a velvety smoothness with a real kick of flavour. Then followed white (forced) asparagus, crispy egg, hazelnut and brown butter, that was part delicate (asparagus) with a perfect  runny egg. The accompanying wine was Adeus: Ribeiro DO, from Galacia, Spain. There was a running commentary from Cerys, who explained the pairings and the choice of ingredients. I would not normally be a huge fan of cabbage, but the next offering was roasted Hispi cabbage, Cavatelli pasta, pickled Girolle mushrooms, truffle foam and Pecorino Sardo. It all worked beautifully and the pickling (with vinegar) gave a star-burst of flavour. Then on to the fish course. We had salted sole and smoked mussels, with white turnip and mussel cream. Good, strong flavour, tempered by delightful cream ‘sauce’, accompanied by Frascati, Italian wine.

Then, just in case you had missed the sumptuousness of it all the next course was: ‘The great feast of AD 14’. This was a pork tour du force. First the belly pork: which is marinated overnight and then pressed. It is golden roasted, crispy edge and wonderfully tender, with an almost sweet robust flavour. The fillet and rib were beautifully cooked with fennel, bean ragu, date and apple. I think, though, that the delicious belly pork, with no hint of fat might have been the star of this particular feast. The vegetarian option was baked globe artichoke, leek, curd, toasted hazelnut and walnut foam. Sounds absolutely great. The accompanying wine was red, organic and Italian, and very fine indeed. We finished with honey and Ricotta cheese, preserved quince, fizzy Muscat grapes, pear and citrus. Perfect. The wine was a classic: L’Arcano Primitivo IGT Dolce, from Puglia Italy, which was my particular favourite, rich, sweet, and yet not so sweet, great depth. Such a lovely way to finish a meal.

Chef Nico Simeone commented, “Our teams have trawled through Roman recipe books to find a way to recreate dishes for the modern foodie. Let us not forget that the Romans were resourceful and inventive with their produce, with many of their dishes revealing the origins of Italian cuisine. Ancient Roman cuisine featured a diverse array of unusual dishes, strange food items, and unconventional cooking experiments, and we hope that our interpretation will allow our guests to enjoy the flavours and tastes of ancient Roman cuisine today”.

We will have to wait six weeks for the next themed evening. Totally worth the wait.

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