Nico has his heart and soul in Belfast
Nico Simeone makes his Belfast debut this month and his unique approach to dining is like nothing the city has ever seen before…
Scottish-Italian chef, Nico Simeone, will be introducing NI diners to a uniquely nostalgic dining experience when he opens the latest branch of his ‘Six by Nico’ chain in Belfast next month.
This will be the third ‘Six by Nico’ outlet – the others are in Glasgow and Edinburgh – and speaking to LCN recently, Nico (29), confirmed that he was ‘very excited’ at the thought of his Irish debut:
‘I love this place,’ he declared. ‘ I have a memory of Belfast from when I was very young, driving though the city, but I have started to come here quite a lot since we decided to open the restaurant and I think it’s great. There is such a vibrant food scene here and I really love The Muddlers’ Club [restaurant], which is just around the corner from us. It’s sensational!’
Born in Glasgow, Nico Simeone now has five successful restaurants that all bear his name – most of them in his home town. He has been in love with the idea of working in a kitchen since his earliest schooldays. After securing a start as a commis chef in Glasgow, he quickly transferred to a post at the prestigious Number One in Edinburgh where, he says, he learned most of his craft.
When he was just 22, he spotted an opportunity back in Glasgow and went on to open his first restaurant, La Famiglia, which he ran for about four years before rebranding it as 111 by Nico, based on the restaurant’s address on the Cleveden Road.
These days, he has five eateries – 111 by Nico; Public House by Nico; Six by Nico (in Glasgow and Edinburgh) and Supper Club, a private members’ restaurant.
His new restaurant in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter will see him expand his unique Six by Nico concept:
‘What we do is, we offer only a six-course tasting menu for £28,’ he explains. ‘Each menu is based around different themes. It might be ‘childhood’, a ‘destination’ or a ‘memory’. We pick the theme and we create the menu around that. We try to turn that nostalgia into a unique dining experience.’
The new restaurant represents a £500,000 investment for the chain and should create around 40 new jobs.
‘We’re very excited about bringing this unforgettable culinary experience to Belfast,’ adds Nico. ‘I have visited the city and I grew up with an understanding of the strong Ulster Scots connection. Belfast is the perfect location for our next venture and I couldn’t think of a better location than the vibrant food and drinks scene of the Cathedral Quarter. We are really looking forward to collaborating with local businesses and having people from the city join our team.’
Nico describes his six-course tasting menu as ‘an evolution’:
“The restaurant really reinvents itself every six weeks,’ he adds. ‘It’s new and different, but it’s also risky. You may have something that people love, it’s successful, but we have to bin it after six weeks and come up with a new idea.’
In the longer term, Nico says that he’s not sure what he wants to do. At the moment, he adds, all he can think about is his Belfast project:
‘We are focused on Belfast now and we’re putting our heart and soul into it,’ he tells LCN. ‘If it becomes successful enough, we will maybe look at doing it in a different city, but for now we are concentrating on Belfast.
Six by Nico opens its doors in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter in March.