EMBASSY XO RESTAURANT
BUILT ON EXPERIENCE FOR EVERY PALATE AND BUDGET
Areputation for good food and quality service has been built over a decade at a popular Sunshine beach restaurant pleasing locals and wowing tourists.
Embassy XO – a haunt for many residents in the northern Sunshine Coast – has prospered on a solid base, thanks to an enormous volume of visitors and variety for every palate and budget.
Ambience and appeal
Sunshine Beach is a buzz in the early evenings during school holidays and there are plenty of venues to draw families, professional couples and locals.
Heading through the heavy and tall wooden gate up the stairs to Embassy XO, the contemporary and modern Asian feel is apparent, with a strong black-and-red theme in the décor and the striking gold mural along the back wall.
Tables are lined up into rows, making it easy to arrange the dining room to suit the number of diners.
I’m always struck by the smallish-size of the restaurant: there are only 16 or so tables inside, with a few on the balcony and some low tables and a bench seat in the bar.
A friendly smile at reception sets the scene for a relaxed and easy, family-friendly dinner.
With the main dining room having floor-to-ceiling louvres that face the ocean, it must be a constant job to keep every surface here clean.
The kitchen is only hidden behind a dividing screen and appears to be spotless. The bathrooms are neat and tidy and the separate bar area is well-presented.
It’s a standard black-on-black uniform of choice here.
The experienced staff are well-groomed and presentable.
The table setting – a water glass, cloth napkin and spoon/chopsticks on a caddy – is well-presented but is on laminate-top tables. Easy to clean, but without the luxe factor.
The excellent mural in the main dining room hasn’t dated and without too many diners this night, the room has a murmur.
Stylish crockery enhances the meals and the glassware is above average standard for most restaurants.
One of the benefits of being a good employer is that your staff stay with you for a long time.
We were looked after by a team of seasoned professionals who were friendly, engaging and anticipated our needs throughout our meal.
Being able to accurately describe the menu and confidently make recommendations helped make for a near-flawless service experience on our visit.
There have been a few chefs run the kitchen here during this restaurant’s 10-year life and all have maintained an emphasis on good quality, locally-sourced produce and refined technique.
We were in a sharing mood so chose a variety of dishes.
The highlights were the pan-fried Wagyu dumplings bursting with flavour and served with intense caramelised onion on a egg pastry crisp and XO sauce.
Zucchini flowers stuffed with tofu and topped with Thai pesto were beautifully fresh and gave a good little zing.
Garlic-spiced Mooloolaba king prawns served on hand-pulled noodles, enoki, pea
tendrils and macadamia nuts were large and generous. The noodles were rich and perfectly silky in texture.
For dessert, we enjoyed the chocolate and macadamia bao – almost like a self-saucing pudding. It was steamed, warm and partnered with a decadent, rich and smooth triple-chocolate ice cream.
It’s not a visit to a Chinese restaurant without deep-fried ice cream and XO’S version had the flavours right, but the crust was a little thick as it was doughy on the inside.
Embassy XO has maintained a two-goblet wine list for several years now. The offering is vast and covers most domestic and international regions and styles.
There are a few cocktails available and two pages devoted to gin.
The by-the-glass selection covers most bases.
It’s a big list for this size venue and would benefit from having a sommelier to sell it, This would round off a nearly perfect service experience.
Experienced staff in the front of house ensure guests are made welcome and are looked after – whether they are couples or families.
It is clear to see the refined technique in the meals here and the dishes are reasonably priced considering this.
The quality of ingredients is high and most portions generous.
We left full and satisfied.
Many years of operating this business has helped the staff hone their skills to make sure guests enjoy a friendly dining experience.
EMBASSY XO RESTAURANT AND BAR Address: 56 Duke Street, Sunshine Beach Phone: 5455 4460
Opening hours: open Wednesday-thursday from 3pm and open Friday to Sunday from noon
STALWART: Embassy XO head chef James Wu (left) leads the kitchen of a business that has been built up in Sunshine Beach.