I always remember this rhyme from school days ‘big foot Italy kicking little Sicily out into the Mediterranean sea’ and it’s here, the island of Sicily, that Chef Nico and his team take their inspiration to create the latest menu from Six by Nico – Cooking Sicily.
Sicilian cuisine has over the years, if not centuries, been influenced by the Moors, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Spanish and Africans creating an incredibly unique food culture and tastes. You’ll find it still retains its Italian roots (there’s plenty of pasta, wines, seafood and olive oil), but you’ll also find raisins, aubergines, apricots, maize and pork.
Six by Nico – six courses available for lunch and dinner for six weeks.
First Course – Arancini Tricolore
Spinach and Gorgonzola with what tasted like HP (broon) sauce on top. Not that I’m complaining, I love broon sauce. Bite sized and the perfect combinations of crispy shell and soft finger licking centre.
Red Pepper and Smoked Mozzarella with a cheesy sauce on top. You could very much taste the smokiness and a full on wee cheese bite.
Cacio e Pepe with a tomoto-ey sauce ontop. Cacio e Pepe is a pasta dish with simple ingredients of black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese, and pasta (in this case rice – arancini).
Second Course – Melanzana. Slow Cooked Aubergine with house made ricotta and trapenese pesto.
Trapenese pesto is what caught my eye here. As we know pesto is made from pine nuts, basil, olive oil, garlic and cheese; the Trapenese pesto is made by replacing the pine nuts for almond nuts and including tomatoes which makes it lighter and fresher. I really liked this dish.
The aubergine was smoky and soft; the citrus slice added a lovely zing and the ricotto creamy.
Third Course – Bistecca Di Tonno. Seared Tuna with puttanesca and a caper & raison puree.
The literal translation of puttanesca is ‘tart’s spaghetti’. It is often told that puttanesca is a cheap dish that working girls of Naples would make whenever time and ingredients were scarce. It’s a tomato based sauce with olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and chilli – variations of the recipe exist all over Italy.
Tuna was cooked well and I loved the crispy kale!
Fourth Course – Pappardelle Ragu. Saffron Pappardelle with Ox Cheek Ragu with Parmigiano Reggiano.
A sexy looking dish of thin ribbons of pappardelle pasta, topped with delicate cheese crisps. Unfortunately much of my pasta was almost glued together (unsure if it was due to under or over cooking) but the ragu was well seasoned and I was very happy that there was a decent amount of cheese sprinkled over the dish.
Fifth Course – Fileto Di Maiale. Pork fillet and sausage with orange and pistachio dressing and braised fennel.
I loved the combination of the pork and the braised fennel along with a wee scoop of the mustard tasting sauce. I didn’t like the taste of the pistachio cream; weird as I love anything pistachio but this was bitter. Everything else was delicious.
Sixth Course – Limone Siciliano. Sicilian Lemon Tart with whipped creme fraiche and candied rosemary.
A delightful way to end the meal. I adore anything and everything lemon. The crust was short and snapped happily when slight pressure was applied and the granita was cold and refreshing.
Another well thought out, clever and knowledgeable menu that has been well researched by Nico and his team.
Six by Nico – Cooking Sicily runs until 28th October 2018 and available for lunch and dinner in both venues – Edinburgh and Glasgow. 6 course tasting menu – £28. Wine Pairing – £25.
97 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ. Tel : 0131 225 5050 firstname.lastname@example.org
1132 Argyle St, Finnieston, Glasgow, G3 8TD. Tel : 0141 334 5661 email@example.com
My Spoon Award : Silver Spoon – food and service are very good. Equivalent to 8/10