When I go to the cinema with my other half, he looks away from the screen when the trailers are on.
Spoilers, he calls them.
I, on the other hand, love a taster to set me up for what’s to come. Thus, we find ourselves in the new Edinburgh branch of Six by Nico, with me boggling at the screens mounted on the wall by our table, and him turning his head the other way. (We have menus, he just doesn’t want any visual clues).
Anyway, these show what’s going on at the pass. Chefs’ arms, some hairy, others tattooed, most scarred and scorched with burns that resemble lipstick blots, are dressing the plates that will be part of the meal that we’re about to receive.
If you’re not familiar with the ethos of this place, whose original year-old eatery is in Glasgow’s Finnieston (owner Nico Simeone also has 111 by Nico in Kelvinside), it offers a new set six-course theme every six weeks at £28 a head.
An optional wine pairing is £25 a head.
Edinburgh’s first is The Chippie (until 13 May). That was Glasgow’s inaugural one too, though it’s now onto Vietnamese Street Food.
Apart from the monitors and music on the stereo (Ed Sheeran, meh, turn it down), not too much has changed since this venue was Passorn.
Though, this social media darling is jumping. There were thousands of bookings before it had opened and on our 5:15pm visit – usually the quiet early-bird shift – it was packed, mainly with millennials, and with a queue out the door at some points.
Food-wise, the menu goes straight for the flavour jugular, thanks to the Chips and Cheese course. There’s a puff of frothy Parmesan espuma, which has been baptised with curry oil, and, hidden in the froth, crispy potatoes, like those clippings you find at the bottom of your chip bag.
Next is Scampi. My other half’s sister used to work in a scampi factory back in the Eighties, but his love for these morsels was rekindled by three crispy coated Scrabster monkfish cheeks, served with bright green blobs of “pea ketchup” and a herby pesto.
I’ve never ordered Steak Pie from a chipper, but people must, or we wouldn’t have ended up with a stub of rich Speyside beef shin. It came alongside a raft of crisp pastry, with passengers of charred onion and piquant nibbly bits of caper.
I suppose the Fish Supper is the main event, and it consists of a palm-sized piece of meltingly soft cod, a dollop of sweet and yeasty “beer emulsion”, a pair of pickled mussels, a confit fennel remoulade and a sprinkling of battery bits.
It didn’t need any additional salt and sauce, bread and butter, or my usual pickled onion on the side.
Although I went through a phase of ordering chicken and chips as a kid, and my other half is a staunch white pudding supper fan, the Smoked Sausage is usually my second chip shop choice if the fish looks a bit fossilised.
This was billed as such, though had little resemblance to the usual low rent rubbery snag. It came under a glass cloche filled with smoke.
The waitress whipped this off, blinked and coughed, then talked us through this dish, which featured shredded Ayrshire pork in a pasta cage, slices of green apple and little dollops of this fruit, which had absorbed the smoky flavour more than anything. Then there were more pea and mint purées, and a wedge of salt baked celeriac.
Neither of us knows anyone who’s actually tried the annoyingly infamous Deep Fried Mars Bar (or in fact the munchy box).
Still, I can’t say I was that convinced by these two bonbons of sticky sweet nougat glue, though they only made up a small proportion of the dish and we adored the other bits – chocolate sorbet, biscuit-y crumbs, orange cream, and a scoop of caramel.
Sounds OTT, but everything was well balanced and paced (we were out in under two hours, and our trousers still fit).
This place is playful, imaginative and irreverent for buttoned-up Edinburgh. I’m excited to hear about their next theme in the way I used to look forward to my favourite band releasing a single.
If they ever need to enhance the current theme with authentic chip paper, they can use this review. It’d be an honour.
(97 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, www.sixbynico.co.uk)