Home delivery dining kits have blossomed over the past two years as restaurants continued to deliver outstanding quality food for us to enjoy our food adventures with them from the comfort of our own homes. Home by Nico is a wonderful reflection of a conceptual set 6-course menu usually served in the Six by Nico restaurants, which are now available for nationwide home delivery on a constantly evolving menu.
Six by Nico was founded by Scottish chef Nico Simeone in Glasgow before expanding to Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool, London and now your kitchen! The menu for the home kits changes monthly, typically traversing food cultures around the world along with some unique themes.
As soon as I saw there was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party kit I knew I had to treat myself to this exquisite interpretative food pairing. I’m a big Disney fan, and over lockdown have been spending time planning themed afternoon teas & dinners, although mine will never live up to this experience!
The meal kit is delivered in a large beautiful box, which when opened is very professionally packaged to keep all the components of your meal secure. The box and it’s elements are also fully recyclable, including the ice packs. Along with all the food components, the box contains a bottle of wine and a full-colour menu and preparation instructions. I’ve tried several of the home cook kits now and this one really felt like a fine dining experience of the restaurant coming to your home.
Delivery is through the Home-X company in partnership with Home by Nico. Nationwide delivery is available on selected days each week and it’s recommended you consume the meal within 48 hours of the delivery date. You must be home to accept the parcel as it’s fresh and they cannot return these to depots for obvious reasons.
The dishes for the meal require a minimal level of preparation, which is a relief if you want to have restaurant quality food at home without being a chef yourself! Largely the items needed to be warmed up, or cooked in a few pans. The focus is instead on plating up, with visual guides and a video option available to enhance your skills of dishing up stunning looking food. After all they do say you eat with your eyes initially! I really enjoyed this aspect of the dishes as a chance to learn from the masters and be really creative with their amazing food.
The first course takes you ‘Down the Rabbit hole’ with a delicious carrot panna cotta, rabbit terrine and carrot mustard. This is one of the simplest dishes in the meal, requiring purely some assembly. The carrot panna cotta, which arrived in it’s shape due to the great packaging, is finished with some pickled celery to give a ‘top’ look on a bed of black olive crumb to give the appearance of it being on soil. I’ve never had a savoury panna cotta before, but the subtle sweetness of the carrot sung through, with the sharpness of the pickle and the carrot mustard was a unique sweet & spicy element. The balance of textures was also fantastic, especially the contrast of the crumb and panna cotta.
Next we were off to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! The mushroom tea was extremely intense in flavour and with the truffle teabag as well this became an umami delight. Individual palmier biscuits were warmed in the oven briefly before being dotted with a great truffle royale. If you aren’t a lover of mushrooms this dish probably won’t be for you as it definitely packs a punch. I love mushrooms and truffle, so this was a really unique dish to be served in the form of a tea!
The third course was designed to resemble the chess game through it’s vivid colours of black and white, Checkmate. Black squid ink pasta was cooked and then coated in a rich Black Garlic Sauce, topped with a stark white parmesan and olive oil powder. This was a really complex flavour profiled dish. A hint of flavour from the squid ink (although not fishy), enhanced with some chilli and a depth of black garlic in contrast with the creaminess of olive oil and saltiness of parmesan. Very unique and a great concept!
One of my favourites courses to plate was ‘Late for a Very Important Date’ as I got to present this as a clock face! One of the more involved dishes to prepare as the meat elements need to be cooked through and sauces heated. A red pepper ketchup is provided in a small squeezy chefs bottle to enable you to draw a clock face on the plate, surrounded by quenelles of pepperade, a meaty chicken ballotine, a sweet stuffed date, spicy chorizo and a really fun crunch element in a puffed pork crumb! I really enjoyed being creative in the presentation of this one and the flavours were absolutely perfect as well.
The last of the savoury courses, ‘Off with his Head’ was my favourite flavour profile of the meal. A meaty pork croquette, with black pudding dice and rosti triangle was a match made in heaven to the sweet caramelised apple puree, spicy n’duja sauce and cutest baby apple! I didn’t know you could even find apples ripe this small, but it added some texture and a tartness as well.
It wouldn’t be an Alice in Wonderland themed meal if the Queen of Hearts didn’t make an appearance, so the dessert course was a homage to her! A beautiful white chocolate mousse heart, with the smoothest centre took pride of place. As we all know white chocolate can be sickly but the raspberry sherbet powder completed this dish perfectly. I love sour sweets and sherbet, as well as having a contradictory sweet tooth, so this was absolutely sublime!
The Home by Nico Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for 2 was priced at £75 for a fantastically unique themed meal consisting of a 6 course meal, a bottle of wine and home delivery. Many of their themed meals have a vegetarian or vegan option available, but check the menu carefully before ordering.
I’m thrilled that restaurants adapted to the pandemic crisis, launching fabulous meal kits that provide us all with the opportunity to experience new food adventures from our own homes. These kits were a lifeline to the restaurants in the crisis, but as popularity and demand for them continues I’m hoping that many more of these adventures will be retained as a sideline for businesses, expanding their reach from a physical site to nationwide home audiences.
I thoroughly enjoyed being able to have a wonderful meal full of beautifully balanced, innovative dishes, fully immersed in the Alice in Wonderland theme whilst also getting the pleasure to ‘cook’ food of this quality and expand my plating confidence all at the same time. As a passionate home cook, the cooking experience was as valuable to me as the food, and my guest had a great time watching me in my element and savouring some very unique dishes!
I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more of the wonderful kits as the boxes change!
Website: Home by Nico Kits
Date: September 2021