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Canberra Today 10°/13° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Packing a lot of love into the package

Plated cured salmon… the avo was creamy, the wasabi provided a hit of heat, the fennel a slightly crunchy element and the ponzu soy a mysterious element. Photo: Wendy Johnson

Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON finds a lot to love about this takeaway meal… 

XO and ILY are in love. That’s in love with providing restaurant-starved Canberrans with quality take-away, dinner-care packages that make the heart go pitter patter.

Wendy Johnson.

The two restaurants are collaborating and offering a “Love Package” during lockdown for $50 a head. If you’re a southsider you order through XO and pick up in Narrabundah. If you’re a northsider, through ILY and pick up in New Acton. The menus change weekly so the menu is never stale.

Our love package began with a stunner of a salmon dish. The cured salmon was a vibrant colour and the packaging used ensured the food came beautifully presented (I am becoming obsessed with takeaway containers). 

The avo was creamy, the wasabi provided a hit of heat, the fennel a slightly crunchy element and the ponzu soy a mysterious element. A perfect start with the dish travelling exceptionally well. 

The roast pumpkin was utterly amazing… the nicest pumpkin dish I’ve had in a long, long time. Again, the combo of textures and flavours impressed. The pumpkin had its skin on (loads of vitamins there) and the salsa verde was carefully thought through. We loved the hazelnut, pepitas and wild rice. 

Protein came in the form of white, cut chicken, which was super moist and delicate with a ginger and scallion salsa. It was delish with the gai lan (Chinese broccoli) with confit garlic. 

While every dish was gold-star worthy, the pièce de résistance was the dessert, once again travelling well in XO and ILY’s carefully sourced packaging. 

It looked so beautiful – a kaleidoscope of colours. The name of the dessert was “Chengdu Snow” (does it snow in Chengdu?). The chilli white chocolate was perfectly balanced and decorated with goma and mandarin. It was smooth, creamy and exotic. Want more!

The Love Package is testament to what XO and ILY do so well. Well-thought out food. Menus that are compact but tantalising. Incredible execution. Full respect for a modern approach to traditional cuisine.

XO and ILY are strong local supporters, both in the produce they work with and their respect for regional wines. In addition to the Love Package, Clonakilla riesling and Nick O’Leary shiraz are available at $50 a bottle.

While I don’t want lockdown to continue, I do want XO and ILY to continue with their “Love Packages”. How wonderful it would be.

The “Love Package” is available Friday and Saturday evenings only, from 5pm-8.30 pm and pick-up only (trust me, well worth getting in the car). Orders must be placed no later than 2pm the day of, but can be pre-ordered in advance. 

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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