Have you ever have one of those weekends where when you try to remember what happened all that plays in your mind is a montage of moments? You can’t seem to grasp on to one particular moment because the whole weekend was just amazing?
Well that is what happened to me last weekend.
I had an epic weekend filled to bursting with good friends, good booze and best of all fabulous food!
My weekend kicked off on Friday night with a much-anticipated visit to newly opened 111byNico located on Cleveden Road in the West End.
Since I first spotted 111byNico on twitter I have been really excited to visit, the plates of food they started posting looked like works of art and, being a bit of a sucker for pretty plates, this seemed to be right up my street.
The vibe in the restaurant is very much that of a relaxed bistro – the best feature is definitely that the head chef works in the open kitchen in the restaurant whilst his team do prep in a hidden kitchen, so you get a little theatre while you eat.
The staff were lovely – friendly, smiley and happy to offer recommendations if you asked. If I had one tiny fault it was that I sat with an empty glass for about 10 minutes but it seemed that lots of tables came in at once and the staff were busy….no biggie – a minor grumble.
The concept at 111 is a menu that will change every week. A brilliant but risky idea. Brilliant because every time diners will have an ever different experience, however, if you find a favourite dish you may never see it again. I am sure the new dishes would be just as lovely but still a little risky I think.
In truth I could have eaten every single dish on the menu….it was a struggle to only pick one dish for each course.
I finally settled on the Duck to start, described as: ravioli, carrot velouté, baked carrot and spinach.
When the dish arrived, it was – as expected – a feast for the eyes. A beautiful ravioli stuffed full of lovely smokey tender duck, topped with carrot crisps (I love carrot crisps), a well seasoned piece of baked carrot and all topped with a light smooth velouté. It was a gorgeous starter and whetted my appetite for the rest of our meal.
For my main dish, I had to have the Cod served with herb crust, sweetcorn, chorizo and black olive tapenade. I have a real thing for chorizo so just had to try it.
When it arrived, it was yet another colourful work of art. The cod was cooked perfectly, the herb crust was only very lightly seasoned and so didn’t over power the fish, which was flaky and moist. The chorizo and sweetcorn were the perfect accompaniment – adding texture and bite to the dish. This was probably one of the nicest fish dishes I have ever eaten..it was delicious.
For dessert I couldn’t look away from the Flaming (YES – FLAMING!!) pistachio and caramel creme brûlée – anything that comes to my table flaming is a winner to me.
This dessert was completely and utterly sensational. The top was crunchy and perfectly brittle, it was smooth, creamy, silky, buttery….and absolutely lush! I can only hope that this may pop up on the menu regularly because the thought of never having this again actually breaks my heart a little bit.
You need to be aware that the portion sizes aren’t massive. I was perfectly content after my 3 courses – could I have eaten more? Yep – I sure could have but I didn’t need it, I was perfect as was my friend Louise. The boys however (one 6ft & the other a judo powerhouse) were both still a bit hungry. Just beware that if you like to feel stuffed after you eat, remember to have a sandwich before you go.
Here is the mind-blowing part of our night – the 3 course menu was only £20 per person. TWENTY POUNDS!!! So I have zero issue with the quantity of food we were served because the quality was incredible. Completely mind-blowingly outstanding for £20.
Our meal for 4 including drinks (2 glasses of wine & 2 of champagne) came to I think £136 – complete bargin!
I will 100% definitely be back here again, regularly I suspect. A brilliant night in lovely surroundings with sensational food…what’s not to like??