Six By Nico


A TUESDAY night in Glasgow and while the light fades and the rain falls a steady trickle of beautiful people squeeze through that awkward entrance at Six, for tables only available to those who have booked. Nine-fifteen was the earliest I could get and as Gordon arrives and we shoe-horn ourselves into one near the window we console ourselves that we may not be of the beautiful ilk but we are at least here for the first night of the brand new Catalonian menu. And we are actually eating at correct Catalonian time.

In Catalonia last weekend, yes, how coincidental is that, at Compartir and other such glittering restaurants, I noticed they don’t even unlock the restaurant doors til 8pm. And that’s probably just for the tourists. Ay caramba!, those damn Spaniards are still too cool for school. Now, I’ll skip the bit where I try once again in here to individually order from the snacks section – its actually £5 per person for all four – though I’ll wonder if they deliberately don’t point that out simply to savour the wow-that’s-cheap effect.

Crunchy, smooth and salty coley croquettes; taramasalata (uh?) with olive tapenade, and a piece of that Catalonian coca bread with olive oil, get the juices flowing before we embark on the latest iteration of the signature six-course set menu that, at £28, has created this restaurant’s enduring (so far) buzz.

Bombas, then? Bit surprising perhaps that after the croquette comes, erm, another croquette. This time ham with smoked chilli compote and aoili, but it’s rapidly followed by a refreshing plate of sliced heirloom tomato, surrounded by squirts and squeezes in pools and blobs of olive puree, goats curd, tomato gazpacho. Ole.

A paella of all things appears. In teensy, weensy miniature, of course. A scorched tiger prawn reposing languidly on the rice’s otherwise pale creamy colouring, pickled fennel, too, saffron and orange emulsion lapping gently.

And already we’re into barbecued coley, not much by the way of barbecue incidentally, strange temperature inconsistencies, too, on pickled green grapes and a punchy mojo verde. All of this I have to say, every single course, accompanied by the sort of breathlessly cheery narration from the waiting staff that is relentlessly compulsory these days in the land of the fine diner.

They did the same thing at a 23-or-so course lunch at El Cellar in Girona last Friday and even though it cost not far off ten times as much, I’ve got to say this: Scottish staff probably do it better, warmer, less tediously.

We’re already at the pork cheek with sobrasada, white bean, spiced aubergine and – taa-raa – ironically as they are now appearing absolutely everywhere in Scotland – a single grilled padron pepper. This course, in its juicy, unctuous, sweetly porky savourings, is the best thing we’ll eat tonight. Sticky tasty and spikily seasoned.

Joanna Blythman: Lunch for two without alcohol, bottled water, or coffee? £108!

We both look up and say it at the same time, confirming that while the earlier courses were all beautifully presented they lacked any real sparkle, not all of the flavours promised on the menu jumped out onto the palate. Save the paella and that was too orangey, and pickley.

Another good course to finish, though. Creme Catalan may sound wearily predictable but simply by pairing it with a fennel pollen (whatever that is) nougatine and giving it a crunchy texture and a slap of orange creme fraiche it becomes a whole lot better thang. Which they do do in Catalonia: Compartir’s coconutty and mango, digestive biscuitty-based omelette surprise remains the best dessert I’ve ever tasted.

Let’s put that in context though. That was part of a £70 per-skull meal. It’s just £28 for six courses in here. Tonight’s Catalonia themed dinner was not nearly as good, nor as clever nor even entertaining, as the last meal I had in here which was based on Scottish snack food. But it was £28 and at that price? Still – just though – almost unbeatable.

Six By Nico

1132 Argyle Street


0141 334 5661

Menu: The latest theme is Catalonia and while weirdly the Catalonians are going crazy for mackerel and white asparagus – and here they’re a bit croquette heavy – it’s an interesting six courses. 3/5

Service: No sign of the eponymous Nico when we were in and perhaps the atmosphere lacked his presence, but staff pleasant and work through the course descriptions without being too windy. 5/5

Atmosphere: It’s a shoe box of a place but still manages to have enough of a sprinkling of fairy dust to feel special. 4/5

Price: Six-course fine dining for £28, beat that. OK, add the hard-to-ignore snacks at a fiver to the price. Still good value. 4/5

Food: Maybe not Nico’s finest hour with a few so-so courses, some questionable combos too, but the pork cheek was good, the crunchy creme Catalan too. Worth trying 7/10