XS Espresso is big in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. With one outlet in North Parramatta, and another in Wetherill Park, it’s the darling of the Instragam influencer set who like to curate their personal feed with envy-inducing excesses. The Wetherill Park outlet can be found inside a sprawling home-wares complex. Getting a car space on a Saturday morning did prove a bit of a headache; and the café itself was also in high demand.
This added up to the downstairs space being ear-blisteringly loud, so we retreated up a winding staircase to a dining area where softer green tones, exposed rafters and hanging plants helped to create a more relaxed atmosphere. What you might not find quite so quite so relaxing is having to traipse back down the steep stairway to order and pay at the counter. Remember to collect a number and cutlery too – XS Espresso is a no-service affair.
While their range of freak-shakes are what made XS Espresso famous, we opt for a more health-conscious Acai Smoothie ($8.50). With a moderate number of toppings that included fresh fruit and muesli, it proved to be a good blend of sweet and tart. As well as avoiding too much sugar, this particular smoothie felt fruit-driven rather than syrupy or ‘artificial’ as so many acai products can. The same could not be said for my Taro Latte ($4.90), which was definitely over-sweet, however I did like the nutty root vegetable notes in the warm, purple, milky drink.
Muesli ($12) was well presented and balanced by coconut flakes and good quality, fresh seasonal fruit. Getting the (optional) honey on the side is a good idea for those who like to control their own sweetness. While the flavours of this dish were on point, warm yoghurt let it down. My guess is our muesli was kept waiting on a bench while our hot dishes were being prepared.
We skipped over waffles, hotcakes and a popular burger range dripping in cheesy sauce in favour of a Happy Bowl ($21). It’s a healthy collection of grilled chicken breast, sweet potato mash, cucumber, smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, kale, beetroot hummus, grilled haloumi, and a soft boiled egg, livened up with a squeeze of lemon juice. The kitchen didn't get the soft boiled memo though, and included a poached egg on both of our bowls, which didn't go with the lemon juice quite so well.
I left feeling a bit ambivalent towards XS Espresso. I definitely prefer the human connection provided by table service, and for me, the food didn’t live up to the hype. I wonder if that would have been different if I'd ordered the high-calorie items they’re famous for?
Shop 9a/1183-1187 The Horsley Drive, Wetherill Park
Ph: (02) 9757 4265