From Palermo in the north to Catania in the east, with active volcano Mount Etna towering over it, Sicily is a treat for the eyes and the belly. A couple of friends of mine travelled around Sicily this summer and I was glued to their Instagram! The sights and food looked equally breath-taking. So when Six by Nico announced their latest menu was going to be Sicily themed, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
Sicily has been inhabited by the Greeks, Arabs, Spanish and the Normans at various points over the centuries and these influences come across in both the culture and the food. The soil is fertile due to volcanic eruptions and the warm climate makes it perfect for growing lemons, oranges, tomatoes, olives and pistachios. Fishing is also important to the island and local catches include tuna, sardine and swordfish. With these ingredients to work with, I was excited to see what Nico and his team would come up with.
If you’ve not been to Six by Nico yet (where have you been?) the concept is a new themed six-course tasting menu, every six weeks. The menu is very reasonably priced – £28 for the six courses and you can add matched wines for an additional £25.
Next up was slow cooked aubergine served with creamy ricotta and Trapenese pesto. So both of the first two courses were meat free but certainly not lacking in flavour or substance. It worth noting that there is also a vegetarian menu, or if desired individual courses can be swapped out for the vegetarian alternative.
The fish dish was beautiful, fresh seared tuna served with puttanesca, a caper and raisin purée and some crispy kale. The tuna was cooked perfectly and the accompaniments complimented the fish and allowed its flavour to shine through.
Then it was on to a pasta dish of saffron pappardelle and ox cheek ragu. The ragu had been slow cooked for a deep, rich flavour. The dish was topped with a cheese crisp which was a bit like when you make a cheese toastie and some cheese runs out and crisps up. Delicious!
There were more traditional Sicilian flavours coming through on the pork fillet and sausage dish which had an orange and pistachio dressing. This dish was tasty, but maybe a little too filling straight after the pasta.
Dessert was a Sicilian Lemon Tart with whipped creme Fraiche, granita and candied rosemary. I’m not going to lie, I had been hoping for some Cannoli for dessert! However the lemon tart was certainly not a disappointment. It was zingy and fresh and the perfect ending to the meal.
This was another brilliant and inventive menu at Six by Nico. It runs until the 28th of October at both the Edinburgh and Glasgow restaurants. The next menu has just been announced as a Middle Eastern theme and I must say, it sounds absolutely delicious.