Finding a variety of Pan-Asian eateries in Accra is quite the needle in the haystack. Most Asian diners in Accra are usually restricted to Chinese cuisine with the occasional bistro offering Japanese chow. Cue my unbridled excitement when Taste Tales heard a new Pan-Asian restaurant had been opened in one of our favourite and most accessible areas, Airport. XO restaurant is a Pan-Asian restaurant that offers various meals from the Asian region, including Filipino and Thai meals. It is located in the heart of Airport in the One Airport Square, right on the ground floor next to Cafe Kwae.
One Airport Square
XO restaurant was initially open for just dinner but is now open for lunch as well. The opening times for the kitchen are Monday – Wednesday from 12pm to 10:30pm & Thursday – Saturday from 12pm to 11:30pm. The bar runs till 1am.
The XO Bar
As a result of our curiosity, I met up with the charming and agreeable manager of XO, Miryam and with Chef Aldo, the head Chef at XO.
XO Manager, Miryam
It was interesting to know that Chef Aldo is Filipino and has had a ton of experience with Asian delicacies! I knew then that XO was definitely a restaurant to check out. I quickly reserved a table for two for Friday evening. For days like Fridays, it is wise to make reservations because you can’t be too sure if there will be a full house.
My date and I arrived at XO at a quarter to 9. Upon entering, we were captivated by the beautiful lighting which consisted of dim lamps and sultry candles. We were immediately greeted by a lovely host who showed us to our table which was set nicely. The lighting cast a relaxing ambience, apt for a date. There was soft house music playing in the background.
A waiter attended to us promptly and took our drink orders and within 15 minutes, our drinks were served. I had the ‘My Thai’ while my companion had the ‘Yellow Earth’; interesting names with interesting background stories. ‘My Thai’ is a customized version of the Cocktail Maithai made of gold rum, Malibu and a host of other fruits. Quite distinct among them all is lemon. It is customized by the XO bar to suit XO’s pan Asian theme. The ‘Yellow Earth’ is inspired by 5th generation Chinese filmmakers that went against the norms, abandoned traditional Chinese propaganda styles for one that appealed to a western audience. It contains whiskey, rum and pineapple. Warning! These drinks may look and seem harmless, but they’re fairly strong! There are approximately 4 shots in each drink!
My Thai and Yellow Earth
Afterwards, my date and I had fried calamari and gyoza (seared beef dumplings), with sauce for starters and our main course consisted of plain boiled rice served with inasal chicken and tuna teriyaki. Inasal Chicken is a chicken thigh fillet with soy fish sauce, coriander, sesame, anato & lime, while tuna teriyaki is made up of fresh pan seared tuna with sesame, roasted black peppercorn and teriyaki.
Fried Calamari and Gyoza Starters
The drinks were new to us, but tasted well and refreshing. The ‘My Thai’ was sweet and kept me drinking. I could taste the alcohol but it was a faultless blend. My date enjoyed his ‘Yellow Earth’ which was a bit stronger in taste than the ‘My Thai’.
The calamari was well done: crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The sauce that accompanied the starters complimented well because of its sweet and sour taste. It was the first time I tried gyoza and I really enjoyed it, more than I did the calamari.
The inasal chicken was interesting because of the various spices and flavours that accompanied it. It was tender and well done. The teriyaki was very new to me, I had never tried raw fish before. Personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy it because I’m not that much of a fish person, but if you love fish you should go for it!
The reception was friendly, helpful and informative, the intervals between each course were not long at all, within 15 minutes our meals were served and every once in a while a host would check on you to make sure everything is going well. They also helped us with the pronunciations of the meals we were having and showed concern by asking if we had any allergies before taking our orders.
The dishes were well presented, I loved the presentation of my ‘My Thai’ cocktail the most.
The atmosphere was great: it wasn’t crowded, the volume of the music was just right, I particularly loved the lights and the aura they gave off. The atmosphere is not only lovely for romantic dates but is also apposite for friends looking to connect and have a quiet chat over a meal. The restaurant wasn’t too crowded which was a bit unusual for a Friday night.
XO offers deserts as well but we didn’t have any because the starter and main course was more than enough for us!
The prices are what I like most about XO! The food is very affordable; you can have a good Pan-Asian cuisine experience (a full course meal with a cocktail) with a budget of about 120ghc.
XO has options for everyone; they kept vegetarians and vegans in mind when they created their menu! There are meals such as veg spring rolls, the XO salad and the Shiro Miso soup created with vegetarians in mind.
My overall XO experience was a good one, it was exciting and refreshing to try out new food; most of the food I tried was new to me, however I enjoyed them and I look forward to going back very soon! I hope that our experience inspires you to check it out and when you do let us know what you think!
– Awo Sade