‘In Hollywood anything can happen, anything at all’ (Raymond Chandler quote from The Long Goodbye).
Feature by Jean Hill
‘Hollywood is not only a geographical place on the map of the world, but an idea and frame of mind. There is something that happens in a Hollywood studio that evokes brilliance, serendipity, and nostalgia all at once.’ (Tommy Dangcil).
Six by Nico does wonderful themed tasting menus. Hollywood, the dream factory, was an inspired choice. Our favourite so far. It is the stuff that dreams are made of.
The ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ aperitif set the ad lib tone. The menu was written, like a screen-play, with director’s notes (from the chef) and rather fine, primitive sketches and edits. My favourite course was ‘a snack’: ‘Good morning Vietnam’. This appeared with a flourish, like a conjurer’s trick. The prawn & peanut rice paper rolls looked fragile enough to drift away, yet tasted substantial, with a vein of tangy prawn sealed within the rice paper. Hot & sour pork pho provided a great ‘ham hock’ flavour to the broth. It would not have been complete without a crab & shrimp cracker with pickled melon & lime. Call it a snack or call it a mini feast.
The next instalment was duck liver mousseline, Granny Smith apple and a gingerbread man (inspired by Shrek): all worked beautifully together and it was the best gingerbread man ever. Act two delivered chicken ballotine. It is a classic French way of cooking chicken: traditionally made using boned chicken legs; rolled around some kind of stuffing, wrapped in chicken skin. This came with Royale Cannoli (Sicilian tubes of pastry) with a nod to ‘The Godfather’. To complete the picture: confit yolk, smoked leek, mushroom and chicken broth; a sure fire winner. Slight interval to catch our breath and then…
The next course was inspired by ‘Pulp Fiction’. This proved to be the epic, ultimate burger with beef onglet (French prime, flat piece of steak – rare or medium rare and ridiculously tender). This was embellished with burger sauce, tomato, aged cheese and crispy potato. The accompanying wine was a Merlot: Comté Tolosan IGP, Terra Vallona, which was delicious with some depth (perfect match).
The curse of the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean) followed. Had to be flaky, tender cod, confit tomato, wild garlic, smoked roe, lemon, and seaweed with a salty taste of the sea. Then, and I realise here is another favourite, with a scary movie theme: the pork was ready for its debut. The cast included: Chinese red pork (char siu with a barbecue flavour and red crust), sweet & sour red pepper, cauliflower, beignet (fried dough) and crackling. The meat tasted a little spicy, succulent, slightly sweet with a hint of charred flavour.
Dessert was inspired by Ghost Busters. Strawberry, lemon and pistachio mille (finely layered puff pastry) and flamed meringue were all beautifully blended for lightness with a refreshing fruit hit. The accompanying wine Côtes due Gasgogne IGP, Les Marmandais was rich and beautifully smooth.
We do not know how the chefs do all this (they claim they do not know either). Whatever. They are all stars. This was an evening to enjoy all the thrills and remember with deep pleasure. The staff are really efficient, friendly and informative. If you want to know how a particular meat or fish was prepared, they will consult with the chefs and report back. There are vegetarian options for all courses.
I am smiling just thinking of how much fun we had that evening.
From the archives: A feast fit for a Roman god at Six by Nico Liverpool.