The Golden Century team's Darling Square restaurant is a homage to its famed pipis in XO dish.
Lauren Vadnjal and Gary Brun
July 01, 2023


It had been three decades since Sydney institution Golden Century opened its doors in Haymarket. The late-night Chinese restaurant was famed for its unbeatable midnight feasts and the queues of chefs, celebrities, hospo workers and everyday diners that lined up to partake into them. And just before the original shut down thanks to the lockout laws, they opened a new one in 2019— XOPP by Golden Century — inside the (at the time) new Exchange Building.

Those who had eaten at the original restaurant might recognise the name as a homage to its pipis in XO sauce, a dish so revered that even David Chang has called it "the best dish in the world". This 160-seat restaurant is helmed by Billy Wong — son of original owners Eric and Linda — who has developed a more contemporary dining concept that he's hoping will speak to a new generation of casual diners. Most notably, there is a bar serving snacks and smaller dishes alongside cocktails — think XO mayo prawn rolls and chicken liver parfait served with Chinese doughnuts. Oh, and 250 wines.

a roll and beer at XOPP

Just as the vibe is different to Golden Century in Chinatown, so is the menu. Chinatown regulars will notice the addition of baby abalone with salted egg yolk, and a roasted kung pao cod fish fillet with cashew nuts. Other modern additions include kale and brussels sprouts and a jasmine bubble tea panna cotta. But you can expect to see a few nods to the OG restaurant — including the pipis in XO, of course.

The impressive XOPP venue is located on the mezzanine level within Darling Square's striking new six-storey Exchange Building designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The dining room makes use of the circular building with floor-to-ceiling windows that show the timber that wraps around the facade. Inside, it's all very sleek with black ceilings, leather banquettes patterned light fittings.

the curved dining room at XOPP in Sydney

It joins the Maker's Dozen on the ground floor of the building, which includes a Tokyo-inspired milk bar from the Devon team, a bar from craft beer specialists Bucket Boys and a Japanese pasta shop from Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines of Banksii and Kerby Craig of Ume. The building is also home for Haymarket Library.

And if you're booking for a special event then look to book one of XOPP's impressive and elegant private dining rooms, with spaces available for 10, 20, 40 or 60 guests. 


Steven Woodburn

Images: Steven Woodburn


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