Sum Yung Guys

The other day on and anyways I wrote a bit about what I don’t like about Masterchef. If you’re interested, you can read the post here, but spoiler alert, it’s all about the unrealistic dessert challenges and fancy equipment.

I mentioned that what I loved about the show was how it’s still all about the food and not about the bitchiness we see in other so-called reality programs. What I didn’t say is that another reason that I keep watching – aside from the sheer joy of Gary’s appetite when confronted with something simply fabulous – is the strike rate Masterchef has of contestants that are working in the industry long after the cameras stop rolling. I think I read somewhere that it’s about 70something%…but don’t quote me on it.

One of the moments that epitomised everything I love about Masterchef was in last years grand final when the eventual winner, Elena, took the time to help her mate (and runner-up) Matt Sinclair finish his dish. No spoiler alerts – you’ve had a year to catch up on it…

Where am I going with this? Matt – and some of his mates – has recently opened a new restaurant on Sunshine Beach and, another spoiler alert, it’s an absolute winner.

The fit-out gives you a hint of what’s to come in the food and flavour stakes –street art-ish murals mixed with snippets of pure Asia.

The food is the same – Asian influenced but with a twist that’s so clever you wonder how it can even be a twist.

Designed to share, the menu is divided up into small plates, medium plates and large plates. The two of us argued and negotiated with each other before deciding on three small plates, one large plate and a som tum or green papaya salad. Although time consuming, that was the easy part – what to choose from a menu where we wanted to try everything was the difficult bit.

We spent way too long saying things like ‘I really want to try the snapper, so if I give in on the satay today, we can have that next time?’ and things like, ‘but I really want to give those Korean wings a go and Oh My God, how good does the beef cheeks smell?’ and things like, ‘who else can we bring next time so we can try more?’

Eventually we decided on:

  • Pork and prawn dumplings, black vinegar and crispy chilli- and good dumplings they were
  • Gangnam style beef tartare, fried egg mayo, crispy potato – easily the best dish of the day
  • Cured swordfish, nam jim, coconut and kaffir lime – my 2nd favourite dish
  • Satay ½ chicken, house made roasted peanut sauce – OMG that sauce!
  • Spicy green papaya salad Spicy Green Papaya Salad, dried shrimp, peanuts, tamarind – hunny’s 2nd favourite

There’s a good mix of gluten free and dairy free options and enough choices to keep the vegetarian in your life happy.

As for desserts? These are kept simple – just two choices:

  • Deep fried ice cream , miso caramel and coffee
  • Chocolate mousse, mandarin, black sesame crisps

We chose the latter and this dessert avoider asked for a spoon to share it.

The verdict? As if you have to ask! Outstanding. We’ve booked already to come again later in the month and also for when we have Kiwi guests at Christmas…so many more opportunities to try dishes – next time I’m definitely getting the snapper…just saying.

You’ll find Sum Yung Guys at Sunshine Beach, just before Noosa – and you’ll need to book. Want more info? You’ll find it here.


The Spirit House Cooking School – Essential Thai

The Spirit House. It’s my favourite restaurant here on the Sunshine Coast – I’ve told you about it before here, here and here. I’ve even gone as far as saying that if I ever got married again (naturally to the same man) I’d do it here – especially now that they’ve got a really cool bar area that looks like it’s been transported from Bali…more on that another time.

Anyways, I have 4 of their cookbooks – 2 of which are almost falling apart from overuse – but have never been to one of their constantly booked out cooking classes. Not because I haven’t wanted to – but because I haven’t got my act sufficiently into gear to plan ahead.

Hubby solved that problem with a birthday gift of 2 vouchers to their Essential Thai class…so off we went.

On the menu was:

  • Pork and prawn dumpling soup with shredded omelette and golden garlic
  • Salad of caramelised pork belly with green papaya (green mango is out of season), and nahm jim dressing
  • Stir fry duck breast with roasted chilli paste, wild betel leaves and crispy shallots
  • Steamed Chinese broccoli with ginger, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame seeds
  • Fried mahi mahi (actually, it was Spanish mackerel) with green curry sauce, Thai basil, and lime juice

At a Spirit House Cooking Class, you’re not watching – you’re doing. So yes, we chopped and diced and pounded our way through all the ingredient preparation – and then we put it all together…and then we ate it.

Ok, that probably seems as though I’ve condensed a 4 hour cooking class into a couple of paragraphs, but seriously, that’s what this one is about. You prepare, you cook, you eat…

It’s probably easier to show you the day in photos…

And the finished product? All I can say is wear comfy pants or elastic waists. Plus, this is the only cooking school I’ve been to where they serve beer and wine (complimentary) with your food. Bonus.

The Verdict…

Well worth the money and the pre-planning. If you’re doing this as part of a Sunshine Coast holiday, I’d recommend booking as soon as you book your trip to the coast. If you’re coming up from Brisbane or are local, the classes book out a few months in advance – especially during summer and July holidays. More info and booking forms can be found here.

Getting there…

The Spirit House is located at 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina. You’ll need to drive – or book a taxi/uber. Directions are on the website.

Food Allergies?

Gluten free and vegetarian diets are catered for. The soy sauce and oyster sauce we used in class (and purchased to bring home) is gluten free.


You can find a similar caramelised pork belly recipe on the website here.

My favourite dish of the day was the Steamed Chinese Broccoli – and it couldn’t be easier. Simply wash the broccoli and cut roughly – separating the stems from the leaves.

In a small bowl combine ⅓ cup oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed – you can even grate it), 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger, 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

Steam the broccoli stems in a steamer basket (naturally over boiling water) for 3 minutes, add the leaves and steam for another minute.

Transfer to a serving platter and spoon over the sauce and scatter with a couple of tablespoons toasted sesame seeds.

Too easy.



Brouhaha Brewery


A noisy and overexcited reaction or response to something…

The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
It was synchronicity that led us to lunch at Brouhaha Brewery. Synchronicity and instagram. You see, it was a few days before Mother’s Day and my husband had uncharacteristically failed to organise a venue for lunch. Which translates to he realised that Mother’s Day was on Sunday, hadn’t booked anywhere, had no idea where to book, so threw his hands up in the air and said, ‘well, I don’t know where you want to go!’
As it happened, I’d been scrolling through instagram and just happened to see a post from Brouhaha. ‘Here,’ I said. ‘Let’s try here.’ Synchronicity.
So we did.
Mother’s Day is rarely a good day to try a new place out. The menu is usually cut down, the service staff are run ragged, and every last available inch of space is occupied. And yes, that was the case with Brouhaha too – but it was Mother’s Day – and we ate early enough that the roast was fresh and good (a real Sunday roast with proper yorkies, perfectly cooked veg and fresh horseradish…yes, fresh – not out of a jar).
Plus, the service was still good…and the pork scratchings with beer mustard dip worth the trip alone.
‘We’ll come back another day,’ we promised ourselves. ‘When it’s not Mother’s Day and the full menu is available.’
That someday was today. With beer loving friends in town, it was the perfect excuse to revisit Brouhaha. This time around we took our time, chose the beer for the paddle, and sat outside on the deck.
The verdict? I think we’ll need to come back again some time to make really sure that it’s worth coming back 🙂
You’ll find Brouhaha Brewery in Coral Street, Maleny. Booking is recommended and, the best bit, there’s plenty of parking. If you’re after more information, you can find it on the website. Oh, and there’s even an open fire for those cold, wintry, Sunshine Coast days…