Restaurant Guide

XO: Restaurant review

XO moves to its own beat, the kitchen riffing on modern pan-Asian classics, the staff informal and enthusiastic.

Address

16 Iluka St
Narrabundah, Canberra, ACT

Hours

Lunch Wed-Fri noon-3pm
Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm

Prices

E $10-24
M $28-$34
D $6-18

Young and bold, the XO crew remain the torchbearers of experimental Asian dining in the national capital. Moving to an '80s playlist heavy on Astley and Minogue, fun-loving but well-drilled staff contribute to an infectiously relaxed vibe. Chequered floors and white-washed brickwork bring a sleek, contemporary style more familiar in Sydney's Potts Point than Canberra's slowly gentrifying inner south. And a playful pan-Asian menu exhibits hints of fusion free from confusion. A product of the owners' family backgrounds, Asian Bolognese is a total umami blast, where spaghetti is swapped for stir- fried udon noodles coated in a rich chicken ragù and topped with a slippery 60-degree egg, while nasi goreng is plated as elegant, vivid layers of squid- ink fried rice, flaked spanner crab and fluffy egg floss. Desserts get a twist as well – a take on tiramisù spiked with plum wine a case in point. Smart bar-side snacking options include mini bánh mì and buttermilk-marinated chicken wings that deliver a hit of heat, and a focused and sharp drinks selection features sake, skin-contact wines, inventive cocktails and cool-climate local shiraz. Just like the many spins on its namesake sauce, XO's success lies in recognising that variety is the spice of life.
Phone:
(02) 6295 9696
Bookings:
Bookings essential
Features:
  • BYO
  • Licensed
  • Bar
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Wheelchair access
  • Outdoor dining
  • Impressive wine list
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Chef(s):
AK Ramakrishna
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.