What do you get, how much is it and how easy to prepare?
Restaurant dining is sadly not an option right now. So when many of our favourite chefs and restaurants - who had never previously offered delivery - began to do so, with some getting really creative in the face of lockdown, we were intrigued.
One of the most popular features on Liverpool Confidential has always been our honest, unannounced and impartial restaurant reviews. Our readers come to us for the lowdown, confident that we know our stuff and will tell it straight. Without restaurants, we've not been able to write restaurant reviews. But it’s what we do.
So we’re launching a new series, giving you the scoop on some of the many delivery options that have sprung up. We’ll buy it, eat it - cook it if we have to - and let you know how it was. We’re not going to be scoring these ‘reviews’ - it doesn’t seem right - but we’ll let you know what you can expect and where's worth spending your money.
What - Home By Nico (By Six By Nico)
I’m sure everyone will agree that navigating the food and drink scene over the past few months has been quite the learning curve. Take-aways have thankfully remained open but have been swamped with orders, while queues for delis, artisan bakeries and independents snake on for miles and any of the basics you’d need to cook yourself something decent at home are being bought in bulk and sold for profit on the black market. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write…
You’ll have to be on the ball to get your hands on one. It’s the edible equivalent of getting Glasto tickets
There is one innovative idea however that has proven extremely popular: the DIY meal-kits: a flat-packed box of food pre-prepped and ready to cook direct from some of the city’s most well-loved restaurants kitchens. In the interests of supporting local business (and, of course, eating like a lockdown lady of leisure), I’ve tried a number of these so far, everything from DIY pizza to ready-made cookie dough.
If the thought of home-made junk food doesn’t quite light your fire then there are more sophisticated options about. Enter Six by Nico: opened in Liverpool last year, and fully booked ever since, their DIY kits have proved just as popular as their regular themed tasting menus. Orders open 9am every Friday and you’ll have to be on the ball to get your hands on one. It’s the edible equivalent of getting Glasto tickets.
The theme changes weekly and the week I ordered it was ‘Mexican’, so the sheer number of items in the box was a little daunting with no less than 20 component parts - though once you’ve worked out what goes where, the cooking is minimal. The technical ability required is mostly just reheating things in the oven, the occasional sauce pan and a bit of creative vision.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
Each of the menus starts with bread and something suitable to dunk it in - this one came with a fresh mojo verde, thick, vibrant and heavy with garlic. Pork mole for the taco starter had been cooked low and slow, a tender sauce of fibrous meat: sweet, smoky and rich - a pick ‘n’ mix of dips and toppings including pineapple salsa and a fiery green chilli sauce was ideal for freshening it up. Taco shells were thick and sturdy and reminded me of the one’s we tucked into on a Mexican roadside back when we were allowed to travel- though they weren’t to the tastes of my dinner date who is more accustomed the floury Old El Paso variety.
The chipotle chicken ballottine included in the main course was the most troublesome thing to cook. Seared all over and then oven roasted as instructed it still seemed a little uncooked to my cautious eyes. A tangle of rocket and salad leaves had to be freed from the chorizo and pumpkin mix to be reheated and my black mole started bubbling viciously on the hob having turned my back for less than a minute. Despite my troubles, I’ve watched years of Masterchef, so was pretty confident in presenting this one. An effortless swoosh of velvet smooth mole hit the plate first followed charred sweetcorn, a fresh bean salad and the pumpkin. The final flourish was disks of the ballotine which, despite my best slicing efforts, still ended up looking more ‘Edward Scissorhands’ than Nico Simone.
I skipped the cheese course because I’m not a fan of anything ‘goaty’ so we hopped straight into dessert. The ‘crack pie’- presumably named after the infamous Milk Bar dessert of the same name, had a chewy flapjack-like crust, filled to the brim with sweet vanilla custard. The crowning of glory of it was the cinnamon laden cream, gently warmed and poured on top- the whole thing light enough to end a banquet with and much more Mexican than I ever thought an egg-custard could be.
Is it any cop?
As a keen cook I’m in the kitchen most days, but the Home by Nico meal kits give you the chance to try something a little more adventurous. Whether you have or haven’t managed to get into the restaurant before it’s not a substitute for the real deal but then that’s probably because you don’t usually have to wash up afterwards. You can swap things about and add your own little improvements (I added a few too many frozen margaritas) and for a special occasion or just a bit of excitement it’s a good deal and a whole lotta’ fun. Fastest fingers first.
What do you get and how much does it cost?
Home by Nico kits come with four courses, bread and bottle of wine- £50 for 2 people or £80 for four. Collection for pre-orders only at Six By Nico11-15 North John Street, L2 5QY.
Value for money
An exciting box of fun dishes for two and a full bottle of wine, no complaints.
Packaging and delivery
If you're picking up on foot, it's a little tricky to carry the box. The handles broke when I tried to use them. It's more environmentally friendly than a carrier bag though. Delivery would be a real bonus.
The instructions are really clear and everything comes together easily.
Quality and quantity
Really impressed with the amount of food.