Walking into Sole Club, the latest in a string of new restaurant launches from Glasgow-born chef Nico Simeone, is a somewhat jarring experience.

You’ll recognise the 1132 Argyle Street to be the exact same as that of the very first Six by Nico which was launched in 2017.

But one step across the threshold reveals the space to be transformed beyond recognition.

Gone is the cosy booth in the corner, tightly packed dining room and open kitchen of the past, in favour of a retro-looking chippy counter and heavy door disguised as a stainless steel fridge, leading to another culinary experience entirely.

So, what brought all this on?

The Herald: Pictured: Chef Nico Simeone plates up a Sole Club dishPictured: Chef Nico Simeone plates up a Sole Club dish (Image: Supplied)

Having just last month moved his flagship restaurant across town, Simeone said: “A site that we really liked came up in Merchant City and we decided that Six by Nico should be located there.

“After opening the Byres Road restaurant, it felt like having two in the West End was a bit much and we wanted to capture another side of Glasgow.

“Once that was done, there was another decision to be made about what to do with this unit.”

Now operating a number of different concept eateries across the city, the Six Company team was spoiled for choice when it came to choosing a new path for the Finnieston unit.

Valaria, an artisan bakery inspired by the chic patisseries of Paris has already found a home on Byres Road and is soon to be joined on the street by the ‘experience-led’ cocktail bar, Somewhere by Nico.

And so, in a fitting nod to the venue’s role in the Six by Nico story, Simeone turned to the past before looking forward.

The Herald: Pictured: A comfort food classic, the fish finger sandwichPictured: A comfort food classic, the fish finger sandwich (Image: Supplied)

He said: “Sole Club has been in development for a while and the time felt right to invest in a full makeover for this unit.

“The first theme when we launched the original Six by Nico was ‘The Chippy’ so that has always felt like a big part of our heritage.

“We settled on a hybrid concept which paid homage to that.”

Hanging above a surprisingly spacious kitchen, which even before opening day is buzzing with activity, hangs blackboards that promise chip shop favourites of battered haddock, Stornoway Black pudding and scampi alongside more adventurous options of lobster rolls or hake Kiev with spiced curry butter.

The Herald: Pictured: The 'A Wee Bit Special' selectionPictured: The 'A Wee Bit Special' selection (Image: Supplied)

“A fish supper is pretty much built into Scotland’s DNA, and we didn’t want to lose that or alienate people by making it too fancy,” Simeone said.

“There are aspects of a traditional chippy making it the kind of place people can stop by a couple of times a week if they want.”

While each item, which can be bumped up to a supper with fat, golden fries, would surely warm up even the coldest of winter nights in Glasgow, there’s another twist in the tail at Sole Club.

Step through that suspicious ‘fridge’ full of juice cans and you’ll find yourself in a 20-seater, speakeasy-style restaurant that’s all mood lighting and dark wood furnishings.

Over in the corner there’s a Sci-fi looking dry ager with a glass-fronted door, leaving pair of fish suspended by fearsome, silver hooks as their flesh takes on an intense, umami flavour in full view.

The Herald: Pictured: Sole Club opens on Tuesday, February 27Pictured: Sole Club opens on Tuesday, February 27 (Image: Supplied)

“There were always two ideas for what we wanted to do at Sole Club.

“There’s the chippy, and then an added element of creativity with the small plates and fish restaurant where menu changes every day and we explore new cooking techniques, like the dry ager.

“We’re really creative and love to reinvent, so we’re always looking for ways to give our guests the best possible experience for the best value.”

Sole Club won’t open to the public until next Tuesday, but with tables dressed for our visit, it appears as though there’s little left on the to-do list.

It’s to be expected from Simeone’s team, who are now dab-hands at launching venues across the UK.

Although his name alone hangs above many of their doors, Simeone said: “I’m always involved in the day-to-day decisions but these days we have a core team that loves this business just as much as I do and have their own responsibilities.

“Whether it’s Sole Club, Valaria or Six by Nico, we’ll get everyone around the table to share ideas.

“We’re a young company and all here to learn but I don’t think it all comes from me.

“There is a massive team working behind the scenes and their energy and love for what they do echoes through just as much as mine does.

“I feel like we’re only going to get better as time goes on because the more success that comes our way, the more we can invest in our amazing creative department.”

Introducing the city of Glasgow to Sole Club marks another milestone for Simeone, a chef who despite claiming not to follow any five-year plan or ‘master strategy’ continues to make a splash in the highly competitive business of hospitality.

“We're scheduled to open four or five Six by Nico restaurants this year as well as having international ambitions to explore.

“As much as we try to adapt and localise at each new location our creative centre has always been in Glasgow.

“Will we launch more concepts in the future? Probably.

“But everything will be born and built in Glasgow.”

“For now, the team is working hard on Valaria, Sole Club and Somewhere which is due to open soon.

“Hopefully, they will be successful and we can grow them in the same way as Six by Nico.

“That’s the dream anyway.”

Sole Club will open at 1132 Argyle Street in Glasgow on Tuesday, February 27.

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