EM­BASSY XO RES­TAU­RANT

BUILT ON EX­PE­RI­ENCE FOR EV­ERY PALATE AND BUD­GET

Life & Style Weekend - - FOOD & WINE -

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.

Clean­li­ness

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.

Pre­sen­ta­tion

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.

Ser­vice

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.

Food

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.

Wine list

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.

Value

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

Web­site: em­bassyxo.com.au

Open­ing hours: open Wed­nes­day-thurs­day from 3pm and open Fri­day to Sun­day from noon

PHOTOS: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

STALWART: Em­bassy XO head chef James Wu (left) leads the kitchen of a busi­ness that has been built up in Sun­shine Beach.

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