Exploring the Hottest Addition to Birmingham’s Food
Nico has arrived, and Birmingham’s culinary landscape is abuzz with the opening of Six by Nico at 81 Colmore Row. The long-awaited establishment promises affordable and innovative cuisine, and our recent visit left us delighted.
This evening’s six-course tasting menu at Six by Nico Birmingham not only delighted our taste buds but also embodied the restaurant’s core philosophy — making innovative cuisine accessible to everyone. Chef Nico Simeone’s vision goes beyond the culinary norm, bringing a touch of sophistication to familiar flavors while keeping it remarkably affordable. £39 for six courses is almost unheard of – you’d struggle to get a meal at a generic high street chain for that price.
Inspired by the iconic “chippie,” the menu is a testament to the creativity that unfolds when affordability meets innovation. From elevated cheesy chips to reimagined deep-fried Mars bars, Six by Nico ensures that experiencing high-quality, inventive dishes doesn’t come with a hefty price tag.
This is the kind of food you would see on an episode of Masterchef, the sort of thing you think looks amazing, makes you wonder about the techniques and ingredients. The kind of plates you think are way out of reach and would be too expensive to consider ever having the chance to try out. You can almost feel the Michelin star experience bursting out at the seams. This chef has taken on board every single experience of his career and crafted something truly unique when I thought we had already seen it all.
We had a fabulous evening immersed in the world that Chef Nico Simeone has crafted. The entire team exudes the confidence that comes with knowing they’ve created something truly special. Their infectious joy added to the overall experience, making it not just a meal but a memorable event. The restaurant itself doesn’t have a dress code. The decor is luxurious so when you first walk through the huge glass doors you might feel a little bit intimidated and think that this is going to be one of “those” posh places. The team, wearing comfy trainers and huge smiles immediately make you feel welcome. The service is efficient and attentive without being intrusive.
One thing I love is how simple the menu is to decipher, and that every dish is explained to you as it is bought over but you’re not made to feel patronised about not understanding an ingredient. In fact everything we tried included ingredients we were familiar with but it was the techniques and processed by which they’re cooked which makes them stand out.
Each course is perfectly paired with a wine tasting menu which again is accessible and affordable to all.
The concept of Six by Nico revolves around change, with the menu evolving every six weeks. For this visit, we were treated to a unique exploration of “chippie” flavors, an ode to comfort food that left us craving more. Each course bought something different but also had an air of familiarity about it. From Irn Bru sorbet and deep fried mars bars to beer batter scraps and the classic curry sauce flavour. There’s just something about already knowing these flavours and ingredients which makes the twists by Nico even more special. The anticipation of what the next theme might bring ensures we’ll be back for another culinary adventure as soon as the new menus drop.
I could wax lyrical about the food. I took mom with me this evening and after each course she said that “this is my favourite” – all of the purées were as smooth as silk. The burnt onion ketchup was rich and tart, the mushroom duxelles with the pie was better than any I’ve ever had, the Coley flaked perfectly and the last mouthful of chocolate pave melted smoothly in the mouth.
Each course is small and has so many features I had to take notes as I was eating to try and remember everything. It’s all good. Better than good. I’d go as far to say it’s perfection on a plate.
When I thought about the concept and the novelty of the experience I was under the impression that the food would probably be a bit of a let down but I was wrong. It’s the food which is truly the centre of everything. It’s evident in all the details – the exact measurements and direction on the plate of each garnish, the texture of every emulsion and sauce which are kept in Bain Marie’s at the right temperature to maintain consistency for service and it’s in the crunch of the crackling.
Everyone has a favourite chippie dish or flavour and they’re all present and all given the Nico treatment which brings the whole six courses together to leave you feeling satisfied and delighted in equal amounts.
Glimpse into the Kitchen:
I was fascinated to watch how the team delivered each course. Six by Nico has a strict and slick service schedule. With all diners booked in advance to enable to preparation with zero wastage. The team work all day to prepare hundreds of individual components which are bought together in a seamless choreography at service.
You have two hours to complete your experience and so if you’re late (past fifteen minutes) then you’ll be turned away. I think this is fair as to miss one course would detract from the journey the experience takes you on, and disrupt the entire flow of service. I watched intently as the team at the line efficiently plated up for the entire evening. Nico himself was present for the launch in Birmingham and has been overseeing the training of the team at this new opening to ensure that they’re up to his exacting standard.
In pairs chefs seamlessly choreographed the plating of their courses, each with many unique components carefully placed, at times with tweezers. I had a front row seat and watched as Nico inspected every single plate and then watched in awe as the pairs of chefs quickly reset their stations to prepare for another course. This efficient style of service is (I think) one of the secrets to delivering such affordable cuisine. The team work at an extraordinary pace and there’s no margin for error. It’s a marvel to watch and I love that the kitchen is open plan. It makes me appreciate it all the more.
I’ll also add that the chefs really look like they’re having fun throughout too. It’s clearly hard work to put it together, and a lot of pressure to deliver to such exacting standards. Catching the chefs as they looked up and out to the full restaurant as their dishes were delivered was fun. They know they’re creating magic and they smile to themselves as they see the reaction their plates receive. This team is clearly passionate about their craft and guarantees a dining experience that transcends the ordinary.
Last Updated on 3 months by Lavania Oluban