We tried Six by Nico's fine-dining Mad Hatter’s Tea Party experience available in Manchester now

Here's what to expect from Six by Nico Deansgate's new menu.
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Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired countless adaptations over the years, including films, plays, music and art – but now, for a limited time only, you can experience a culinary trip down the rabbit hole right here in Manchester at Deansgate’s Six by Nico.

The popular fine-dining restaurant chain, which has two locations in Manchester, specialises in six-course taster menus that rotate on a six-week basis. Previous themes have included street food, chippy teas, and the fun fair, making the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party a natural choice. 

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All the dishes in the menu are inspired by characters and scenes from the book, combining a playful concept with sophisticated food. We went along to try out the menu so if, like the magical cakes in the book, this menu is saying ‘Eat me’ to you – here’s an overview of what to expect. 

Six by Nico in Deansgate, ManchesterSix by Nico in Deansgate, Manchester
Six by Nico in Deansgate, Manchester

The food

The menu, which comes in at a more than reasonable £39 per person, starts with a dish that is an interesting take on the classic afternoon tea. A smoked bacon jam and a creamy truffle and parmesan royale are layered onto a sturdy cheese scone dressed with pickled walnut. The ‘mad’ twist in this tea-party, however, is the mushroom tea consommé, which comes in a cup on the side and packs a rich, salty and intensely savoury punch. 

Next on the menu is the ‘The White Rabbit’ featuring a succulent rabbit, chicken and date ballotine, accompanied by a mouthful of rabbit bolognese, carrots roasted in beef fat, a tart carrot ketchup and tarragon pesto, which lifts the dish with its cool herbiness. This is followed by ‘Paint the roses red’ dish, consisting of goat's cheese mousseline, beetroot and radish, which is then doused in a bright red caramel apple sauce at the table by the waiters.

Six by Nico's Mad Hatter's Tea Party menu at the Deansgate, Manchester restaurant.Six by Nico's Mad Hatter's Tea Party menu at the Deansgate, Manchester restaurant.
Six by Nico's Mad Hatter's Tea Party menu at the Deansgate, Manchester restaurant.

Table-side presentation is also a feature of the ‘Eat me, drink me’ fish course of black pollock with a miso glaze, a crispy fish cake, bonito emulsion, white turnip puree, pickled Tokyo turnip puree and a Dashi broth, which is poured from a teapot by the waiter.  

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Pork is the star of the next dish, which includes melt-in-the-mouth pieces of pork belly and a crispy pig head croquette – hence the name ‘Off with its head'. The richness of the meat and fat is paired well with an apple gel, cauliflower and sauce charcuterie. The meal ends on a beautifully light white chocolate mousse, coated in red velvet cake garnished with raspberries and pecan brittle – a fitting tribute to the villainous Queen of Hearts. 

The 'Queen of hearts' dessert on Six by Nico Deansgate's new menu. The 'Queen of hearts' dessert on Six by Nico Deansgate's new menu.
The 'Queen of hearts' dessert on Six by Nico Deansgate's new menu.

We also enjoyed the wine pairings during our adventures in Wonderland, adding another £30 per person to the bill. Most of the wines in this menu were Italian, apart from one Chilean wine. The wines were expertly matched and covered a whole range of flavours from a sparkling dessert wine to a more full bodied and tropical wine. 

Six by Nico also offer additions to the menu, including a themed range of aperitif cocktails (£8.50-£9.50), starter snacks, such as a roast chicken fat butter and sourdough (£5), and main course add-ons (£9).

The verdict

As mentioned in previous reviews, Six by Nico is a great option for anyone looking for the fine-dining experience without the hefty price tag you are bound to find at some of the other Deansgate and Spinningfields restaurants. The staff are always well versed in the food and drink they are serving and do a great job at explaining some of the more complex elements of the dish. The decor at the Deansgate restaurant is cosy yet sleek and, depending on where you sit (we sat in the street-facing lounge area, but there is also a larger room for evening services), a great place to watch the world go by. There is also something for everyone on the Mad Hatter’s menu, an appealing balance of light and heavy dishes that are presented in a fun and exciting way. 

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