Chef Nico Simeone has made a name for himself in Scotland and beyond for his themed meals. It started with the ever-popular Six by Nico, which opened in Glasgow in 2017, and brought the concept of six weekly-changing tasting menus to life for curious audiences.
From Chippy to Willy Wonka, to graphic locales such as Paris and Vietnam, restaurants (he now has two in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh, two in London and one in Belfast and Manchester) book weeks at the advance (for the best weekend slots).
During the lockdown, Simeone turned to home dinner boxes and an e-commerce site, Home-X, including a Chateaubriand home cook box for two.
This concept proved so popular that Château-X was born and opened its first restaurant in Finnieston in Glasgow at the end of 2021.
The concept is a short, snappy menu, with one main option – a chateaubriand for two to share, with sides for £35.
After a few months of success in Glasgow, the restaurant is making its Edinburgh debut for August, bringing Fringe-goers the same offering as Glasgow, from Six by Nico on Hanover Street. So, after my first Fringe show in three years, I went to the pop-up on a balmy and busy Tuesday night.
Six by Nico sits on the site of the former Passorn Thai brewery and is a stylish restaurant with bistro tables and chairs, banquettes and shelves of colored glass vases.
The menu here is short, you really only choose if you want snacks before your steak. At the Edinburgh pop-up, these consist of sourdough with whipped bone marrow butter, puffed pork rinds with chilli peanut dip, fresh burrata with salsa verde and oysters from the West Coast.
We chose the pork rinds (£4.50) and oysters (£9). The four West Coast oysters were served on a large iron skillet, nestled in ice. Each was plump and creamy and served simply with a squeeze of fresh lemon to bring out their flavor.
Across the table, the generous portion of pork rinds looked like fancy Quavers and bursting with flavor. Crispy and a little greasy, the sticky peanut sauce added a welcome sweetness.
Then it was on to the main event. For those who want to know where their steak comes from, and why not, Gilmour Butcher – a popular, local meat purveyor – has partnered with the brand to supply the steaks.
The chateaubriand is served sliced accompanied by a roasted tomato, porcini mushrooms and watercress.
There’s a selection of sides, which include hand-cut Rooster skinny fries, truffle macaroni and cheese, XO broccoli with cashew-sesame vinaigrette, dripping beef carrots with tarragon and carrots, heirloom tomato panzanella salad, or roasted pumpkin with parmesan and red pepper pesto trapanese.
Customers can choose from garlic butter, chimichurri, pepper or Hebridean blue cheese sauce with their steak.
We opted for the fries, broccoli and pumpkin, and a classic pepper sauce. Although we each had a steak knife which looked like a mini meat cleaver, the meat could have been easily cut with a normal knife – it was almost as soft as butter.
Cooked medium-rare and well seasoned, it would be easy to enjoy without the sauce although the pepper added some extra bite and richness.
The fries were crispy, with a good amount of salt, while the broccoli was sprinkled with sesame seeds and had a kick of the XO sauce.
It was the pumpkin that marked me. Sweet orange cubes were sprinkled with tangy parmesan cheese while underneath, hidden chunks of red pepper revealed themselves with every spoonful. A good balance of flavors and texture.
Although we were drunk, the lure of a Ice cream cone at 1 € served with crushed amaretti and chocolate sauce was too good to say no, especially on a hot summer evening.
The light, smooth spoon will instantly take you back to childhood and the sweet addition of the rich sauce and crushed cookies is ideal for a little grown-up sophistication.
At Chateau-X you can expect good quality produce cooked quickly and well in an elegant environment close to the city center. With so much to do this month at the Fringe, it’s a place for the “must see” list.
Chateau-X will be appearing at Six by Nico on Hanover Street on August 23 from 12pm. Walk-ins are welcome although reservations can be made on line.
Nico Edinburgh’s Chateau-X at Six
97 Hanover Street