We’ve been singing like a canary about this East London gem
Lead image: ‘The Chippie’ menu at Six by Nico
By Cheryl Caira
I was lucky enough to be at Six by Nico’s Edinburgh launch in 2018, with the bright, shiny concept of a menu that changed every six weeks arriving as a trailblazing addition to the capital’s dining scene. Now here I am 400 miles down the road, about to experience the restaurant’s flagship menu at a sleek new space in the city’s Canary Wharf banking district.
I say banking: of course the gleaming skyscrapers and their associated companies are still there, it’s just ceased to be what this area is all about. Post-pandemic, the focus at Canary Wharf has shifted to making it a go-to dining destination all of its own merit – rather than just a stop-off after work – with a slew of new venues recently making the dockside space their home.
‘The Chippie’ was Scottish-Italian chef and restaurant founder Nico Simeone’s launch baby – the menu that got people hooked. Designed to be an immersive experience that brings to mind classic chip shop fare reimagined, inspiration came from Simeone’s childhood memories of his family’s fish and chip shop.
It’s a Thursday evening and the new outfit is buzzing, springing on the heels of its launch the week before. I’ve managed to slink into the last available table. Given I’ve been lucky enough to try the original Chippie menu already, I decide to sample the six-course vegetarian offering… although a little nibbling of my friend’s non-veggie dishes will be par the course.
We’re transported to a seaside state of mind straight off the bat, with a pleasingly light and fluffy Filo Cannelloni, looking the part as it sits atop a pebble-scattered plate and packing a punch with a citrusy-creamy bite to it. I take a slither of perfect seaweed butter and sourdough, but restrain myself from mopping up more as I want to leave plenty of room for the evening’s finale – a mere six courses away.
But first, arrives my personal 1AM favourite; elevated and far classier of a morsel in this guise. A goats cheese espuma, crispy potato terrine and just the right hit of curry oil make for well-proportioned dish companions, and I’m regretful to see it disappear from my plate so quickly.
If you’re umming and ahing over whether to go for the wine pairings, don’t. Just say yes. They’re well-curated and do their food-complementing job superbly well. Our first pairing of the night is a Vinho Verde, a medium-bodied number with accents of pear and apricot that bring out the creaminess in the second dish. In my case, the ‘Cauliflower Beignet’. The veg feels meaty with great batter texture, with the fresh burst of dill sitting beautifully with the familiar flavour of the spring peas. Meanwhile the monkfish dish, being demolished by my friend, is “boisterous in the good way.” The next wine pairing, an Argentinian Malbec, is nicely light and has an earthiness that complements the mushroom and beetroot of the Root Vegetable Pie – dish number three – and the all-round smokey vibes at the essence of it.
I love halloumi, and thought I’d covered most of the ways it could be devoured (given I order it at every dining opportunity.) Pairing such a distinctive-tasting cheese with the strong flavours of samphire and fennel would be a combination I would be feart to put together in the kitchen, but it tastes delicious in this unique form.
Is there room for a sweet potato and feta cannelloni interlude, with some cutely-perched Granny Smith apple slices, more-ish salty accents and perfectly light pastry? Sure. And then, with the flourish of our final wine (a dessert Moscato with apricot and honey characters) we come to the last course, a delicacy that I have to admit I’ve never purchased from an actual chippie. Perhaps I don’t need to now. Six by Nico’s version of a deep fried Mars Bar comes with enjoyably bitter dark chocolate and a blood orange sorbet, my favourite element of the dish.
This is a dining format that seems foolproof, and for good reason. It’s inventive, consistently high quality, and gives you the fine dining feel without the astronomical prices. Even with the wire pairings added, this is tremendously good value. The restaurant staff need to be mentioned as they were enthusiastic about the food, attentive and a big part of the winning experience. As with the best chippies in town, get to the front of the queue fast – this menu will be gone for good on 19th September, making way for a new and no doubt popular theme in its wake.
Tasting menu, £37. Matching wines, £33. To book in at the restaurant, head here