Nico’s latest menu once again shows that playfulness, storytelling and jolly good cooking are his constant calling cards. And it’s all so affordable too.

How does Nico do it? A creative menu of six courses, that costs just £37, served in a smart environment and to a remarkably high standard?

Well we’ll get to that, but first the space.

Elegantly sat on the ground floor of one of the towers at Canary Wharf, Six By Nico has been decked out with wood panelling and fittings that serve to make it seem far older and cosier than you’d expect. An open kitchen keeps it modern, while young, bright, cheerful staff zoom about busily in fetching matching outfits.

One of many Nicos around the country, this is one of the newest and it’s very busy. Of course with Canary Wharf being a kind of open prison, there aren’t all that many decent places the well-heeled workers can go to eat.

Or even smoke, I am still fuming (sic) that some pompous Wharf security card made me dog my B&H standing outside, even though I was smoking in the open air.

Anyway Nico’s schtick is this six thing; a brand new six course tasting menu every six weeks, each one themed around a different place or memory.

There is no choice to be made, except between meat or vegetarian, so nothing stops you from immediately relaxing and getting in the mood.

A rather well-designed and printed menu explains what you’re about to receive, and even gives you some of the recipes (dialled down in complexity) so you can try your hand at home. Good luck with that.

The new menu is called Once Upon A Time, inspired by ‘much-loved childhood tales’, and the six dishes were whittled down from the original twelve options by customer votes.

Now I am not going to review each one, none of us have time for that, and it would also spoil your surprise. Suffice it to say there was nothing I didn’t enjoy, although a couple of dishes could have been served hotter.

The dishes are very, very wee, as Glaswegian Nico might say, which explains the prices. All the expenditure is on effort in the kitchen to make something magical.

“Please sir, can I have some more?” for example, features the world’s smallest confit Hasselback potato served with hay baked potato mousseline, preserved wild garlic and pickled onion.

It’s more than enough though, as you do have to find room for six courses and the intensity of the flavours could also be too much served in a larger portion.

This style of cooking is straight out of the, now often seen as rather naff, period when Heston and Ferrran ruled the restaurant roost;  there is lots of smoke, there is plenty of theatre and  there is full on fun.

I like it, boo to boring food!

Fun such as “Let’s go trout poaching”, featuring Sea Trout, Smoked Bone Veloute and Dill Dressing, Artichoke, Sea Herbs, Bergamot Gel and Salted Cucumber. The basics are spot on, the trout skin is perfectly crispy and the briny sea herbs super fresh.

You get matching wines for another £33 and it’s worth it, a fresh faced sommelier enthuses about each one as he pours, but neither J or I are entirely clear about what he’s saying as the music rather drowns him out. He is though very good about J’s allergy to red wine, making well chosen changes on the fly as well as alerting the kitchen.

Six dishes later and we’re done ending with ‘Beauty and the Beast, the last rose petal – a glorious melange of Mascarpone Creme, Rose, Hibiscus &; Rhubarb.

If you’ve ever wanted to try the kind of dishes you see on Masterchef, but have been put off by the prices, and often the pretension, Six By Nico is perfect.

I’m looking forward to the next menu already.

Photos supplied by Six By Nico