We are spoilt for choice in Sydney and its suburbs with so many wonderful cafes to dine in and XS Espresso is one that stacks up not just for its Belgian and Maple stacks of sweetness, but for its savoury items as well.
Lunch on the weekend with my son was a drooling experience with so many tempting dishes on the new winter menu, including a Wild Pear Rocket Salad with walnuts, almonds, shaved Parmesan and Pomegranate dressed with lemon and olive oil; a Godfather burger with a double Angus patty, salad, melted cheese and truffle aioli served with chips; a soft shell Crab burger with cabbage slaw; and the Americano fries with cheesy sauce, smoky BBQ and crispy bacon that we shared as a starter. Oh so delicious, they got our tick of approval.
Next up it was the XS Barra for me – a fillet of pan-fried crispy skin Barramundi with a Fennel and Orange Salad in a beetroot and blood orange dressing. The fish was cooked to perfection and very fresh. I loved the crispy skin on the one side and the bare open white flesh on the other. The salad was also delightful with its combination of warm cherry tomatoes amongst the cold cucumber slivers and orange segments.
Crispy Skin Barramundi - nice and light so one can fit dessert in
My son went with the XS Chicken burger which was a marinated chicken thigh accompanied by cheese, tomato, lettuce, bacon and Sriracha aioli in a milk bun served with a side of chips. Big and juicy, it got a thumbs up.
Other interesting items on the lunch menu are the Lavish Lobster Pasta (Linguine) with King Prawns, a Grilled Chicken Salad with an Asian twist and the Exotic Sirloin with Confit mixed mushroom, roasted Truss cherry tomatoes and Truffle Cafe de Paris butter with Chimmi Churri sauce on the side.
We were quite full at this stage but this sweet toother couldn't leave without dessert. I desired an XS shake-cum-dessert and selected the Golden Gaytime with its caramel, vanilla crumble and coffee base topped with Golden Gaytime doughnuts. Loving Golden Gaytime ice creams, I found the coffee an unusual but nonetheless nice addition to the shake whilst I intermittently peeled away the white chocolate and crushed nuts on the rim of the glass. The doughnuts were beautifully warm and fresh with Nutella centres. A taste of heaven was had.
Many other diners were devouring delicious shakes as well and next to us were a couple that let me capture a picture of their shakes – the Original Cronut and the Monster, with lots of chocolate bits and pieces. Both looked scrumptious.
Left: The Original Cronut Shake with a salted caramel, Oreo, Tim Tam and Belgian chocolate base topped with Kit Kats, M&M's, wafers, Maltesers & Caramello Koalas; Right: The Monster Shake with whipped cream and many of the same pieces
If you're after a beverage that's not as sweet as the above then the Chai Latte or Campos coffee might be more up your alley. A variety of T2 teas are available as are iced mochas, soft drinks and smoothies.
My healthy son who doesn't normally eat desserts was enticed by the sweet menu and he decided on the Next Level Waffles and boy were they next level. Tim Tams laying next to two very large scoops of vanilla ice cream with strawberries, M&M's and Crunchy crumble sandwiched between waffles covered in Nutella and Belgian chocolate had him in somewhat of a food coma afterwards. A mere taste of it had me in heaven again.
Other decadent desserts to be had are the new Woohoo Fondue for Two with pure melted chocolate over strawberries, marshmallows, banana and waffle pieces; the Fluffy Nutter, a waffle sandwich with Nutella, crushed Maltesers, Oreos and Tim Tams; and Australia's first Chockebab with shaved milk and white chocolate, Nutella, strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. Other kebab combinations include Oreos and Tim Tams and there's even a Chockebab Snack Pack. I definitely have to return to this oasis of divine temptations.
If you're an early riser, XS Espresso are also open for breakfast which can be had from 6.30am until late in the afternoon. Healthy options, such as Acai bowls and muesli with fruit and yoghurt, are served up along with heavier combinations of eggs on toast, fritters, and a big breakfast with bacon and the works.
I found prices very reasonable with the majority of items under $20 (some well under) and nothing over $30. Dinner is an option too with a separate menu that includes pizzas.
Outdoor seating caters for those that prefer an al fresco style whilst indoor seating has a more cosy and comfy feel with a padded bench along the length of one wall, planters hanging from the ceiling and greenery cascading down a brick interior. An upstairs section caters for larger groups.
Overall, XS Espresso is a lovely cafe to relax in, enjoying good company, amazing food and extravagant shakes. The place was packed whilst we were there, a testament to how good it is. It's made it on to my favourites list, that's for sure.