GlasgowLiving’s Inspector Morsel: 111 by Nico Review
All for 111, and 111 for all!
Fine dining enjoys a belated introduction to Kelvindale, where a wonderful mélange of worldly flavours and gasp-inducing dish presentation come together on every plate at 111 by Nico.
Sandwiched between a Spar and a dry cleaners, the restaurant sneaks just out with the realms of typical West End exploration, but it has no problem luring flocks of city slickers and out-of-towners alike, Pied Piper-style, through whispers of promised food utopia.
The dark-tiled walls, coupled with cosy tables just the right distance apart, offer an environment that truly invites its guests to relax. The open kitchen allows you to watch the chefs at work as they craft their masterpieces. But what really sets the concept apart is the altruism of chef-proprietor Nico Simeone, which is clearly embedded in 111’s ethos. Nico employs disadvantaged young people “with a poor start in life” to work alongside him in the kitchen, transforming the venue into both a cook school and restaurant.
The five-course tasting menu comes at an astonishingly reasonable £30, plus another £30 for matching wine. However, the two hour maximum table time on fully-booked evenings leaves a rather tight window for leisurely dining on the five-course tasting menu. Service is swift and thoughtful, and despite a heavy seasoning of flourishes, 111 manages to strike the balance between overly pretentious and ghastly gimmicky. Sit down to ham hough revealed from a glass cloche in a cloud of smoke (reminiscent of many an iconic Stars in Their Eyes moment), sip on mushroom velouté designed to convert even the most stubborn champignon cynic, journey towards delicate lamb paneer, and finally squeeze in a few mouthfuls of white chocolate mousse dimpled with crunchy meringue.
Ayrshire pork cheek served with salami and squid ink purée
So, could it be? Might 111 finally earn Glasgow an ever-elusive Michelin star? Alas, we may not be the ones who wield the power to bestow the honour, but if we were, there’s no question that Mr Simeone would see 111 written in the stars.
White chocolate mouse with meringue and berries