REVIEW: 111 by Nico in Glasgow. 'Trust' menu

3 months AGOIain Fenwick Restaurant Reviews

Nico Simeone is a chef that likes to be creative, someone that will take a risk in his endeavour to stand out. With ‘6 by Nico’, Nico and his team put a tremendous pressure on themselves by having to come up with a new theme every 6 weeks and having to create 6 individual dishes to fit that theme. The long-term challenges of such a unique concept will no doubt stretch their creative minds to the limit! I have eaten at 6 by Nico twice, the first time I loved, the second not so much. That’s ok though, the theme, and with it the dishes, will be completely different next time I visit, and the affordable menu makes it a very desirable destination.

111 by Nico on the other hand is the original Nico Simeone restaurant, the restaurant that allowed Nico to forge his reputation as a young exciting chef. When I visited last week there was a natural sense of intrigue. There had been a significant amount of chatter across social channels regarding the new ‘Trust’ menu, and I am far more moved to try something different, rather than something let’s say canonical.

111 by Nico is located in the Kelvindale part of Glasgow, fairly isolated from the bustle of the west end, but easily accessible none the less. I arrived shortly before 7pm to find an already half full restaurant on a Wednesday night which gave me an immediate sense of confidence in what lay ahead. The ‘Trust’ menu is split in to 2 options, Trust and Total Trust. Trust offers you a choice of 12 ingredients of which make up your 5-course tasting menu, the ingredients will change on the 1st of every month. Total Trust is as it sounds, you sit back and let the kitchen guide you through your evening. I am all for diving in to the unknown, so I chose the Total Trust menu.

The 5-course menu would be accompanied with matched wines and it didn’t take long before my first wine was brought out. Each wine and each dish were described in detail by the very knowledgeable waitress. What was particularly refreshing was the descriptions weren’t read from a script, I really believed that the staff knew exactly what they were talking about and were genuinely passionate about working there. When you have that kind of confidence in those that wait on you, it makes a big difference on how your entire dining experience pans out.

My 5 courses were made up by an Amuse Bouche, a small second course, a fish course a meat course and a dessert course. There is an option for a cheese course that I passed on. I am not going to go into the detail of each dish, as by the time you get around to going to 111 by Nico, the probability is that the ingredients will have changed, not to mention that the whole point of the concept is to go there not knowing what you are going to eat!

What was important to me when I went to 111 by Nico, was that it made sense and delivered. It’s all very well coming up with a quirky concept, but it actually has to mean something, it has to carry itself, it has to deliver an experience that has people leaving saying yes, that was fantastic, have them telling their friends, having them still bring it up in a conversation months down the line. What Nico Simeone is prepared to do, is put himself out there as a chef, leaving himself exposed. It’s a very brave thing to do, because it can go wrong. Not this time. From the minute I walked in to 111 by Nico I was impressed. The interior is comfortable, the front of house staff are knowledgeable and attentive, the ‘Trust’ gastronomic journey makes sense and works. The quality of the ingredients, the flavour combinations, the textures, some wonderfully clever and creative cooking, plus  the wine pairing had been well thought out and very much complimented the food. So in a nutshell, 111 by Nico delivers a wonderful dining experience that is exciting, interesting and delicious all rolled into one!

Website: 111 by Nico


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