While the name XO may convey that most emblematic of Hong Kong sauces (as well as Cognac, if that’s where it takes you), XO restaurant, in the Canberra inner suburb of Narrabundah, is far from confined to a regional cuisine, no matter how cosmopolitan that cuisine may be. XO draws broadly on the cooking of…
Fair to say that Daniel Goodsell had worked in his fair share of Perth’s finest food and wine establishments, having spent nearly two decades setting up and running establishments with Little Creatures co-founder and serial restaurateur Nic Trimboli, including Duende, Balthazar, Gordon Street Garage and Bread in Common. Although Daniel had equity arrangements in some of these, Billie H. is his first venture flying solo, and he’s doing so front and centre, just like he always was for Trimboli.
Taking over a site formerly occupied by Argentine eatery Asado, and named after Billie Holliday, one of his musical heroes, Goodsell’s place evades easy categorisation. He emphasises all that is important in a venue–food, music (via turntable, of course), friendly and informed service, ample liquid options–without ever trying to over define or pigeon hole what they do. A bar? Okay. A wine bar? Sure. A bistro? If you like. Use it as you will, says Goodsell. Eat big or small.Eat early or late (the kitchen’s open all day). A coffee and pastry? No problem. Escubuc (a French juniper and orange aperitif) and fresh grapefruit with a plate of grilled chorizo andSwan Valley honey? Coming right up.
Similarly, head chef Alia Glorie doesn’t want her food pinned down. It generally takes in Mediterranean influences, but is not limited to them. Availability and seasonality inform the offering, with wine always kept inmind.Food for wine and wine for food, with morsels ranging up to large plates, and an emphasis on sharing.
The wine list is compact but incredibly dynamic, with and ever-changing offer of small-production wines at itscore. Regulars will likely see the changes in the 16-strong by-the-glass offer two to three times a week,keepingthings as fresh asthey can be.The offer is split between international and local bottlings, with the menu andthe seasons guiding the wine selections as much as it does the food.