XS Espresso, whose first cafe is in Wetherill Park, first got famous via social media, where photos of its crazy shakes dominated many an account. In late 2016, owner Roky Gorgees decided to expand to North Parramatta, where he opened a second incarnation among a bunch of mega stores, just off Windsor Road.
Splashed with greenery and warmed by pendant lights, this hideaway is a cosy relief from traffic and shopping. The shakes are as OTT as ever. Take The Volcano, for example — a towering sculpture of Nutella, coconut, Oreo, ice cream and warm chocolate soufflé.
Dishes follow suit. Think buttermilk fried chicken stacked with cinnamon waffle, slaw, melted cheese and special sauce, or seared Atlantic salmon on a base of sweet potato mash and stir-fried chickpea, layered with kale, tomato, chilli and crispy sweet potato. Yep, whatever you order, you'll be getting big, rich flavours and enough food to power you through to the next day.