Chef AK Ramakrishna weaves a mod-Asian theme at the smart, tucked-away XO in the low-key suburban destination of Narrabundah.
Minimalist design and blond-wood chairs and wall panelling focus in on the open kitchen in this long, airy dining space. Seating choices include banquettes, regular tables or high benches.
‘Sexy squid’ is fork tender and crisp, tossed in a spike of chilli salt with added sweetness – perfect with a squeeze of fresh lime. The charcoal aroma of a deftly sliced, rare-cooked Cootamundra Black Angus sirloin wafts up in ‘Crying Tiger’, nestled beside a tangle of fresh bean sprouts, herbs, red onion and a punchy dried chilli dipping jam. Si yau gai is reminiscent of a master stock braise – a crisp-skinned version of silken chicken lounging in a scented broth, crowned with pungent ginger and green onion paste. Sides of charred cabbage with miso crumble or spicy cauliflower nuggets with minty coconut yoghurt encourage you to indulge in virtuous veggie goodness.
PSST! Perhaps finish your meal with Chengdu snow – a chilli–white chocolate mousse perched on a sweet, crunchy rubble speckled with freeze-dried mandarin.