The Big Interview
Cardiff, prepare yourselves! The highly anticipated debut of Six by Nico, which will be situated on High Street, is swiftly approaching. With restaurants across the UK and a six-course tasting menu that will evolve every six weeks, you’ll want to have your table booked for Six by Nico’s opening week, commencing on Monday the 14th of August. We were lucky enough to bag an exclusive interview with founder Nico Simeone just before the grand opening. Nico reveals his refreshingly innovative culinary concept designed to elevate the city’s fine dining experience and tells us exactly why Cardiff was his next, obvious choice.
Hey Nico, welcome to Cardiff! After experiencing nationwide success, what made you decide to open your first restaurant in Wales?
“Hey guys, it’s nice to chat. Well, I suppose it’s a mixture of things. As the concept began to gain interest, the natural thing to do was grow. When planning for the future, I and the teams always look for cities that feel aligned with what we do creatively with food and our concept being affordable. I was in a meeting with members of our Chief Executive team a few years ago, and we were just brainstorming locations that we would want to open in one day – of course, Cardiff was on the list. Cardiff, in my opinion, has a vibrant and buzzy vibe – similar to my hometown of Glasgow. The process has been longer than anticipated with the impact of 2020, finding the perfect location for the new restaurant in the city. Fortunately, we have finally done just that. Cardiff itself is a really cool city and the people are lovely – although I haven’t been down lots, I’m eager to learn more about the area, get to know the locals, and share my passion for cooking and creativity with them.”
Can you tell us about the first Six by Nico menu that Cardiff will experience and what the inspiration behind it is?
“Of course! The first menu will be ‘The Chippie’ – the first tasting menu concept ever created by myself and the team six years ago. Over the years, we have reinvented and evolved every course to reach what we see as being perfect. The inspiration behind this concept takes me back to my Scots-Italian heritage and childhood. When I was growing up, my family had a chippie and I used to work with them on weekends. I even just went and spent time with them there from as young as I can remember. So I suppose The Chippie is a celebration of this and where I first started being so heavily involved with food. I adapted this to showcase my chef career and how this has evolved over the years. The menu itself is personally important to me, and I feel really like to be able to share this with so many people. Going for a chippie on the weekend is such a nostalgic memory for many people across the country, so in some ways, everyone has their connection and story to tell, which I also think is really special.”
What is the method behind putting one of your iconic menus together?
“Our process is really collaborative and I think that’s what makes the end result pretty cool to see. The fact we change our menu every six weeks is a huge task in itself – we essentially bin the old concept and start from scratch every time. To say it out loud like that really speaks volumes about the amount of thought and work that goes into them from everyone in the company. The process begins with just a creative brainstorming meeting between our creative development team – Andy Temple (Chief Creative Officer), Michael Sim (Chief Marketing Officer), Rachael Rafferty (Chief Operations Officer) and Morgan Pope (Brand Director), as well as the entire marketing team. We sit down and simply throw around some ideas beginning with one creative seed – this could be anything from a memory that someone has that is so fond of them or a country they recently visited and loved the food. From there, it just grows and grows. Just one small, minor detail can create something amazing. Having everyone involved from different areas of the business helps us refine and grow the idea so that it’s not only an amazing experience for customers, but for the staff who will be creating this experience for all guests joining us at Six by Nico.”
If you were to create a tasting menu that represents the essence of Cardiff, what local ingredients or flavours would you incorporate?
“Oh, this is a difficult one! To be honest, if we were to create a menu that was regional to the area, we would involve locals and customers in the process since who knows Cardiff and Wales better than those who grew up and live there – right? I think the creative seed, as mentioned earlier, would come from the people and then we would evolve this into a final menu for Cardiff/Wales to enjoy.”
In a nutshell, what can Cardiff expect from Six by Nico?
“I’ll try my best to summarise this one! I think overall, we just want everyone to be able to enjoy a really amazing experience for an affordable price. This has always been our goal as a team, and it’s what we’re truly proud of. Everything from the menu to the interior has been planned to celebrate elements of Cardiff/Wales and Six by Nico — creating synergy and allowing natural elements of Cardiff to be felt in the experience. I’m genuinely excited to open — the response online has been amazing so far, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone, finally.”
Six by Nico Cardiff will be opening to the public on Monday 14th of August. Bookings are now live and are are filling up quickly! For bookings and to sign up for exciting menu announcements: website