Embassy XO, Sunshine Beach, Sunshine Coast

I've been walking past the redevelopment on the corner of Duke and Bryan Streets on Sunshine Beach for some time, wondering what it would bring to this great strip of restaurants, cafes, delis and coffee shops.

We are regular visitors to Sunshine Beach and love the ambience, the opportunity to park the car and just walk where ever you want to go and the good quality food and coffee on offer.  It's a little paradise.

The three new operations to open are Embassy XO (previously Alegria Restaurant) which is an upstairs licensed modern Asian and Chinese restaurant with indoor and covered outdoor dining for up to 80 diners.

XO Bistro Wine Bar (previously Wasabi Restaurant) on the ground level, is a licensed and BYO beach-style bistro and wine bar serving pizzas, steaks and seafood in a more casual style. It includes indoor and outdoor dining for up to 100 people.

Completing the trio is XO Cellars,  a boutique style bottle shop serving quality wines and beers.

Company Director of the XO group and local developer for over 25 years, Michael Collins originally built the complex at the beach end of the busy shopping village 16 years ago.

With friends coming up from Brisbane to join us for Saturday night we decided Embassy XO would be a great venue for our Saturday night. After checking out the decor - red, Chinese-influence and very smart casual - we picked out a table and booked.

It was very busy when we arrived on Saturday night and the wait staff did not have much time to explain the menu. We worked it out ourselves and decided to order four dishes from the 'share' menu.

The menu is mouth watering read, a fusion of Australian Chinese ingredients and style with some unusual twists.  We decided on coral trout, wagu beef cheeks, a roast chicken dish and a grainge beef curry with a side of rice.

When the meals arrived they were delicious.  There was some debate amongst the four of us but the coral trout and the beef cheeks came out as favourites.  The chicken was the least popular, voted a definite fourth.

It was good food, voted 8 out of 10 by the group.  Priced at between $32 and $38 for each dish it was what we would have hoped for and expected. We were pleased with the flavours.

What we weren't pleased with was being presented with the bill, without request, just under an hour after sitting down.  It made the food price, just under $130 (excluding alcohol), seem quite expensive. At 8.30pm we were out on the street wondering what to do for the rest of the night!

I also was disappointed that, despite visiting the restaurant and specially booking a specific table, we were off loaded to another table without any explanation. There's also a noise problem in the restaurant which needs to be addressed.  We could not hear each other talk due to a loud and noisy table of girls packed close by.

And although we ordered from the share menu, our dishes arrived before the plates to divide them onto and all at once.  It would have been better to have them arrive progressively, in a considered tasting order, so we could fully enjoy the experience of each dish.

In the big scheme of things these are probably just teething problems unless the restaurant has a fast turnover policy.  I would suggest that giving diners a little extra time to enjoy their meal would make for a better customer experience that would make them return another night.  Based on this experience, I won't be rushing back.

Embassy XO, Cnr Duke & Bryan Street, Sunshine Beach. p 5455 4460

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