Nico is a Scottish-Italian chef, the creator of Six by Nico – chain of restaurants serving six course tasting menu based on a theme, changed every six weeks.
Its Dublin branch, located on Molesworth street, opened in 2021 and I’ve visited it in March 2023 to taste their Tokyo inspired dishes.
Upon entry, you’re presented with the menu, serving one of two options – Regular and Vegetarian. At the back of it, you can read about Nico’s and his crew recent trip to Tokyo, Japan, in search of inspiration.
It was my first time at Six by Nico restaurant in Dublin and I was disappointed to see it looked just like any other one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cute place, however I had hoped that, with the theme of the menu changing every six week, so would the décor. It’d be great to see the space decorated with Japanese inspired items, perhaps playing traditional music too, set the mood to match the culinary experience.
Throughout the course of the evening, we were served by multiple waiters and waitresses, and the level of their service was unsatisfactory. Only one bothered to ask how we’re getting on, whether we want to take a small break from the onslaught of incoming dishes that I can’t help but described as mass produced fast food like. The remaining staff we dealt with were in disarray: three different servers coming up to ask for a drink order even though I already placed it, passing me the menu over the shoulder of another customer at adjacent table, instead of going round where there was more space. This service was not up to the level I expected.
Unfortunately, neither was the food.
Course 1 – Karaage
Deep fried Crispy Egg with Togarashi and Oroshi Shoga Ginger was served up first and it was a strong start. This is the only dish I would like to have again. The sauce it was served it, mayonnaise like, was absolutely delicious and I was happy to see it come back later, for some of the other dishes.
Course 2 – Tempura
Second dish was Enoki Mushroom served with picked Daikon and Ponzu and it was disgusting. Everything about it was not to my liking. The texture of the mushroom within the tempura was rubbery and dry, there was no enough sauce to go with it. The entire dish had very overpowering taste of mushroom, so much so I could not taste any citrus Ponzu or the radish.
Course 3 – Okonomiyaki
Savoury Kimchi Pancake with Okonomi Sauce and Japanese Mayonnaise that was served next was the most confusing one. I liked how it tasted but the ingredients didn’t go together well at the same time.
Course 4 – Ramen
The Ramen served contained Hot & Sour Tofu, Tokyo Turnip, Shimeji Mushroom, Egg Yolk Jam & Kombu Dashi. Except the Tofu was not seasoned whatsoever, its basic block was simply covered in batter. It was neither hot nor sour. In contrast, the broth was very powerful in taste, there was very little of it. I wish there was more balance across all pieces of this ramen rather that the two extremes. I also wouldn’t mind if this particular portion was a bit bigger.
Course 5 – Tonkatsu
Panko Hokkaido Pumpkin, Cabbage & Yakitori Shallot Jam was the last dish served before the dessert. The taste was ok but such a heavy pumpkin based dish in March would not have been my first choice. However the purée texture was disappointing.
Course 6 – Strawberry Candy
Last but not least, the dessert was a Strawberry Parfait, Matcha Cake and Candy Strawberry. It was tasty and that’s all there really is to say. It didn’t remind me of Japan and it wasn’t spectacular either.
I’m not a food expert in any shape or form so this is just my unprofessional opinion. Obviously, tastes differ and what I found to be an overall average experience, some might have loved or hated more.
Having said that, I don’t think I will be coming back to Six by Nico anytime soon. I love the premise of this restaurant, it is an imaginative concept with brilliant potential, which I don’t think was met for the Tokyo menu.