SIX Restaurant

SIX Bar and Restaurant

Standing proudly on Hove’s Western Road, land of the fashionable and often faddy eatery, SIX Bar and Restaurant is the new kid on the block, hoping to make its mark.

Occupying the site that was previously Hove Kitchen and more recently The Good Food Club, the completely new SIX opened at the beginning of November, following a dramatic makeover and with an important mission; “to combine the freshest ingredients with a passion for bringing out inherent flavours in a contemporary approach to cuisine.” And how did they plan to do that? The answer was quite simply “by solely using locally sourced, organic seasonal ingredients to create (their) perfectly balanced menus.” Owner Fabio invited the ‘who’s who’ of Brighton to the glitzy launch party and treated them to the warm and generous hospitality that was promised at his new venue. With such high aspirations and such fierce local competition, I was delighted to be invited to review SIX and discover for myself if it could really deliver on all these fronts as well as having the staying power to outlive the relatively short reigns of the sites predecessors.

I visited on a bright but bitter cold Friday afternoon, together with my Mother-in-Law (a very talented cook herself and a genuine and discerning ‘foodie’) and my six week old baby; all in all a potentially rather demanding gaggle of females. SIX is not hard to find – it has a domineering and clearly branded frontage, with smart al fresco seating placed along the full length of it. Due to the chill in the air we opted for a table inside and so entered what is a warm and inviting venue. Split into three separate and unique areas, there is a sophisticated bar to the right, a bright and airy brasserie in the centre and a refined fine dining room (or ‘stylish dining’ as Fabio later explained that they liked to call it) to the far left.

We were met by a huge smile from our waiter and led to our table whilst being advised of the baby changing facilities should we require them. This simple gesture immediately put me at ease as although my little cherub is usually as good as gold when out for lunch (so far!), there is always that worry at the back of any parents mind that a restaurant may not be very inviting or equipped for potentially disruptive babies!

We sat in the brasserie area which is both roomy and fresh looking, but equally cosy on a blustery day. With its wooden floors, exposed brickwork, deco style wallpaper, wooden farmhouse-style chairs and tables and fresh produce and foliage adorning the space, it was a fusion of honest countryside interior and contemporary twist; the perfect prelude to the meal we were about to be served.

SIX Restaurant starter

The menu is clear, concise and full of dishes that sound delicious and appear healthy (bonus) in equal measures. For starters I opted for the Chilli Salt Pepper Squid, whilst my guest went for the Tuna Nicoise. I’m a huge fan of seafood but have experienced some real highs and lows on the battered squid front, so my fingers were crossed. I needn’t have worried as the portion was generous, the squid was thickly cut, it was cooked to perfection and the batter was light and not oily (as it so often can be!) The squid came with a refreshing sweet chili homemade mayo, all served like a piece of art on a slab of slate. Equally as aesthetically pleasing was the tuna, served on a wooden block (there has clearly been a lot of time allocated to choosing the perfect serving ware for each dish!) This min course included all the classic nicoise ingredients but served in a deconstructed fashion; fresh tuna, quails egg, confit pepper, purple potato and wholegrain mustard drizzle. Priced at an average of £7 for each starter, this is excellent value for money. With every mouthful you can taste the freshness of the ingredients – each item is full of flavour and cooked to its optimum point. Upon meeting SIX owner Fabio after the dinner, he explained why the ingredients are so important to him.

“For me, it is really important that we use only organic ingredients and that we use suppliers that we know well, we trust and that are as local as possible. For example, our poultry and beef are from family run businesses in Lancashire and Surrey and our lamb comes from a farm in the Welsh mountains. All our fresh fruit and vegetables are organically grown in Kent and delivered each morning direct to our kitchen.”

Being a bit of a cheese burger connoisseur, for the main course I opted for the aptly named ‘The Burger’ and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. For me, the ultimate burger can be judged on three aspects; the bun, the meatiness of the burger and strength of the cheese. SIX certainly delivered on all fronts with the bun being a fresh herb-flavoured homemade focaccia, the burger itself had that organic straight-from-the-farm flavour and the cheese was plentiful, melted to a perfect gooey texture and strong enough to pack a decent punch. At the price of £12, including fries and a salad garnish, you naturally have a high expectation and ‘The Burger’ certain met mine.

The mother-in-law opted for the lighter ‘Cous Cous Mackerel’, a gently seared fresh mackerel fillet, homemade Moroccan style cous cous salad, confit lemon and finished with organic raw pesto. Once again this was served beautifully presented on a carefully selected piece of slate, and the mackerel was as fresh as the restaurant’s mission promises. The chef obviously knows how to blend flavours in a perfect harmony. The lemon confit was the perfect accompaniment to the mackerel and the pesto added a fresh and earthy kick to the light and airy cous cous.

SIX Restaurant

We washed our mains down with a glass each of the house white wine (it was a little early in the day for a whole bottle!) which is sometimes a risky choice to go with. I often think that a house wine really sets the tone of a restaurant and am often surprised at the lack of thought or quality you so often find. That was certainly not the case at SIX. They have opted for a refreshing and light Pinot Grigio that has soft fruit flavours and can quite easily paired with any of the delicious main dishes available on the menu.

By the time our dynamic waiter offered us the dessert menu, we were totally full, so had to politely decline – not an easy thing to do with a very aesthetically pleasing dessert counter making eyes at you from across the room! Instead, we opted for a quick catch up with owner Fabio to get the lowdown on his new project. Fabio is charming and charismatic; looking out for his customers, ensuring everyone was having a top notch time. It was obvious from the offset that Fabio is a great inspiration to his staff, with each of his team delivering the same welcoming and warm level of hospitality he prides himself on. Having evidently done such a good job at it, I asked exactly what qualities he looks for when recruiting his team.

“I look for passion in all of my staff. It is not enough for them to just turn up and serve customers; they have to see their job as a career in the hospitality sector and want to develop their skills in this area. My staff know that they will be well looked after, enjoying many benefits beyond a wage, but in return I expect very high standards.”

High standards are an expectation Fabio clearly has for the entire restaurant and he really does deliver the goods. SIX is the perfect blend of honest and flavoursome organic food, beautiful and timeless décor that is inviting all year round, and staff that make the entire dining experience sincere, inspiring and one you’ll want again and again. SIX has the staying power the site has needed for a long time – the proof is in the pudding as I’ve already booked my next visit!