Home by Nico by Six by Nico

AT last, as Etta James once memorably sang, we manage to get onto Home by Nico’s website and book dinner. For weeks the system has been driving us bonkers by going live at 9am on a Friday morning, allowing us, at 9.01am say, to begin the ordering process, then to plod tiresomely on entering personal details, thumping card info into the payment section, and when every hurdle has been leaped and the process is finally gloriously complete – shouting; haha sold out. Grrrr.

Nico may be a victim of his own success but few online systems can so surely and so casually induce such fear and loathing. Given how irksome that has been it’s a pleasant surprise to see just how slick the actual home delivery is – presented in a bijou, Home by Nico branded cardboard box, with high quality packaging, an ooh-ahh unboxing and a thoughtful printed menu with fulsome instructions.

Yes, mild sweary words escape when the drachma drops on how much work is still involved in putting this all together for the table but…while the Baharat lamb shoulder is heating and the whole roasted cauliflower warming we are at the table pulling chunks from a fabulous horiatiko psomi sourdough loaf and dipping it into the supplied olive oil, the obviously carefully-made hummus and onto a mountain of spicy, nutty dukkah.

There’s then more than a moment’s puzzling over whether that pink and serve-cold tomato soup should have the pretty-looking bulgar wheat, compressed tomato and olive salad dumped into it. Or if they should simply be eaten separately but together. The instructions vacillate. Google is consulted. A vote is taken. We put the salad in the soup. It’s surprisingly, zingily, delicious.

I’ll say this about Nico. There are no passengers on his plates. Every single item has to pony up with the biggest flavours. It makes his meals a serious of superb sensations, sometimes actual explosions of taste, but can also create an unusual problem.

The lamb shoulder here is a lightly pressed cake of deep and luscious tenderness, seared cauliflower drizzled with green harissa, almond and lemon on the side, smoked aubergine baba ganoush, red pepper and kalamata olive oil dressing provided too. Phew.

Individually they are all stars, but on the plate it’s like wandering between a series of rooms in which musicians on speed are playing completely different genres. Deafening and exhausting to eat, especially after the thrill is gone.

I notice here that nobody clears their plate. Wonder too how much better that lamb would have been with simple Greek roasted lemon potatoes instead.

After all this? We take a breath. There’s a huge hunk of artisan cheese to tackle, and biscuits, with chutney, (for another day) a vanilla custardy pie, lightly coddled in a crisp and ephemeral phyllo pastry with a zingy tart cherry topping just waiting to ragdoll the weary palate back to consciousness.

We have a Greek salad sitting there, too, something that turns out to be slightly over engineered, coming with a powerful dressing and hunks of feta and therefore winding the flavour volume up way too high.

Nico also lobs in a bottle of wine for free. Hands up, I moaned about another restaurant doing just this a few weeks ago but on this occasion it isn’t here to pad the delivery out because this meal cost just £85 for four people and the sheer quantity and quality of food is frankly staggering.

There’s no way we can work our way through it all at one sitting. And we don’t. A careful cook could easily parcel this feast up and serve a family a series of treats over a whole long weekend, maybe giving each band its own performance slot instead of throwing them all on stage together.

It’s generally very good stuff though, with only one minor dud – a caraway flatbread which unfortunately exactly replicates the flavour and texture of cardboard. But with caraway. Hey ho.

Otherwise? It’s a winner.

Home by Nico by Six by Nico

Delivering and collection in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Order (on a very annoying website) at sixbynico.co.uk

Slots are released one or two days a week.

Menu: It’s Greek time at Six By Nico and no traditional flavour is left unturned, no dish un-tweaked in a frankly dazzlingly wide selection of flavours with fresh baked bread and a lush Baharat lamb centrepiece.

Food: Flavours are Nico’s thing and, while he sometimes crams too many on the plate, for sheer quality, value and for that superb sourdough bread and dips, this is hard to beat.

Price: We paid £85 for a meal for four that could have fed 40, that was packaged in a way that Apple would have been proud of and threw in a completely unnecessary bottle of wine.