Bakery Vietnamese

Xcel Roll & Bowl – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

My favourite Western Sydney pork roll of childhood was at Red Light Bakery in the now-demolished Wentworthville Mall. There was something truly special about the soft, non-hard bread that never hurt my delicate teenage mouth that I have not been able to find anywhere else. I was saddened to find, on my return to living in Wentworthville after a ten year absence that the Mall and its bakery had been levelled to make way for a new apartment block. Enter Xcel Roll.

Xcel Roll, branch name of Mascot favourite Hong Ham, delivers the goods to a seldom-matched level of perfection. On offer are banh mi with a variety of fillings, though early risers should note that their crackling roast pork roll is not available in the early hours of the morning. While you may expect to line up down the street for a banh mi at the Mascot mothership, Xcel Roll’s Parramatta branch seems not to have won the fame of its family members. The wait is short and the service is fast and sweet.

The Classic Pork Roll. What is there to say about a banh mi that so nearly approaches perfection? The salad is plentiful, the carrots are tangy but not soggy. The pate and lard are adequately proportioned. The birds eye chillis are hot as they should be. The meaty fillings are your standard trio, and most importantly of all, the bread is crunchy without causing unnecessary oral trauma. This is the gold standard.

The Roast Pork Roll ($8.50) is as good as their cold pork roll. The roast pork is accompanied by pork skin, warm and crunchy and fatty. This mixes well with the sauces, ultimately producing a more creamy mouthfeel than their standard cold meat pork roll. Again a very good roll.

Since this review was first written Xcel Roll Parramatta has moved around the corner from 52 Macquarie St to 42 George St, and gone up a weight class from being a tiny hole in the wall bakery to now a small hole in the wall restaurant, offering basic pho and rice bowls atop it’s standard banh mi offering.

$12 makes for an unfortunately somewhat basic Beef Pho. While I thought that the provided chilli sauce was particularly good, shortcomings of this particular bowl included the somewhat basic tasting broth as well as the fully cooked through beef, with no rare option available. In my opinion I would always choose to spend the extra $2 for a special beef pho from Pho Master across the road.

While I was disappointed by Xcel Roll and Bowl’s beef pho, their Chicken Pho ($12) was actually quite good. The soup had a more complex flavour, and in this case the bowl did not suffer from the lack of rare meat, as you’d certainly want your chicken cooked all the way through. Other positive aspects of both this bowl of pho and the beef one are that they is served piping hot, and remained hot until I got home to be able to eat them, as well as the perfect sizing of the bowl, bean sprouts, and Thai basil, which meant that there was no juggling required between different bowls.

The success of nearby Destination Roll on Church St suggests to me that Xcel Roll has a ways to go with their marketing. Small hot bread shops essentially survive on word of mouth, and I hope that this review will help to bolster Xcel Roll’s place in Parramatta’s collective consciousness.

It’s good/5

Xcel Roll Parramatta
42 George St, Parramatta NSW 2150
0431 300 806

One reply on “Xcel Roll & Bowl – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review”

Hi, I hope you are well and I enjoy your various reviews.

As I work close by, Xcel is our favourite takeaway lunch spot. In fact, we got lunch there 3 times this week. All their rolls are great and my colleagues and I rotate between their offerings for the last at least 8 years.

In regards to your comments of Destination Rolls, I have only had it from Destination’s Parramatta branch twice (1 of those times was during the Xcel’s closure due to its relocation) and both times the rolls were disappointing – the bread rolls were not crispy and the fillings were lacking and not flavoursome.

Most weekdays, there are at least 4 ladies serving rolls at Xcel and they are super fast and yet there are queues out the door almost every day (except for school holidays). This speaks for their popularity.

Their rice paper rolls are popular in the warmer months as well.

I enjoyed your reviews esp for the Parramatta area. Take care.

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