Gourmet Traveller|December 2019
Cast off thoughts of wall-to-wall seafood tanks, fluorescent lights and late-night indiscretions from the kitchen staff of your favourite fine-diner. XOPP does not offer these. What it does do, though, is offer a roll-call of Golden Century classics in among new-wave dishes in a setting with better design and a little more wiggle room around the edges.
That’s the pitch anyway. This place is about a coming together of old and new say the briefing notes for Kengo Kuma’s bird’s nest of a building that houses the restaurant at Darling Square. And so says XOPP, a second act for a grand institution 30 years into its lifetime, led by Billy Wong, the son of Golden Century’s founders, Linda and Eric Wong.
Does it work? In the design, at least, they’ve managed to avoid the funereal quality of the Wine Bank – the team’s other recent project – choosing to work with the circular flow of the mezzanine by keeping the sightlines open, and styling it in a way that happens to match the Nike Savvas installation that hangs into the food court below. Glassware and chopsticks are in shades of orange, bowls and plates in shades of green, while the ceiling – mirrored black with inset Chinoiserie fabric – recalls the panelled floor of the Millennium Falcon, if only Han Solo had had a fondness for Schumacher prints.
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