Food News

Now open: XOPP, the sister restaurant to Sydney’s legendary Golden Century

Considering its blood line, this is one much-anticipated restaurant opening.
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Imagine, if you will, if Peter Gilmore called his latest restaurant The Snow Egg. Or Ben Shewry opened an Attica spin-off called The Vegemite Scroll. It’s the sort of ride-or-die nomenclature on which the success of the new eatery hinges.

Enter XOPP, Sydney’s latest Cantonese seafood restaurant by restaurateur Billy Wong, housed on the second floor of The Exchange building (on the ground floor, you’ll find Japanese pasta joint Pasta Wafu). The restaurant (it’s pronounced X-O-P-P) is named after the signature pipis with XO sauce from Golden Century, the Sussex Street restaurant opened by his parents Linda and Eric some 30 years ago.

“The name XOPP is playful and instantly recognisable for those who know the iconic dish,” says Billy. “[The restaurant] is a new concept for the group, but we want to maintain a connection to the original Golden Century.”

XO pipis with crispy vermicelli.

(Photo: Steven Woodburn)

Some Golden Century classics remain: wok-fried snow crab with garlic butter, and that hot pot of braised beef tendon and turnip (though the runner-up to GC signature dish status, the steamed parrot fish with ginger and shallots, is missing).

But if it’s new-school Cantonese you seek, there’s an appetiser of Hiramasa kingfish sashimi with doubanjiang and finger lime, stir-fried king prawns with foie gras sauce, or typhoon shelter cauliflower. Head to the bar snack menu where you’ll find crisp mantou rolls filled with prawns, XO sauce and XO mayonnaise, or a parfait of chicken liver and Shaoxing wine served with Chinese doughnut.

“With XOPP being in the Darling Square precinct, we’re trying to appeal to a new generation of diners,” says Billy. “The classics sit alongside contemporary dishes using different ingredients and techniques, yet still retain those Chinese flavours. It’s younger, playful and vibrant.”

Prawn mantou roll with XO mayonnaise and XO sauce.

(Photo: Steven Woodburn)

The modern Cantonese brief speaks as much as to the décor as the food. Helpfully, Billy’s older brother Alex Wong heads up Hong Kong-based design firm Paring Onions. He’s followed up on his work at The Century (Golden Century’s outpost at The Star) with a sleek XOPP fit-out: industrial meets modern Asian, accented with floral motifs and orange and green tableware.

Inside XOPP.

(Photo: Steven Woodburn)

The opening of XOPP caps off a big year for the restaurant group. The flagship Golden Century restaurant celebrated its 30th birthday this year with the addition of the Wine Bank on the third floor – it features more than 1000 wines, some of which are housed in the Vintec temperature-controlled fridges lining the wall.

And whatever its name, considering its blood line, the opening of XOPP gives Sydney another reason to celebrate.

XOPP, The Exchange, Mezzanine Level, 1 Little Pier St, Darling Square, Haymarket, NSW, (02) 8030 0000,

Open 7 days, 11.30am – 11pm,

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