Hong Sa Bar at Spirit House

Spirit House Restaurant

We’ve been fans of The Spirit House for what seems like forever. I hate to think how many times I’ve posted about it on the old and anyways site. They absolutely deserve the accolades they’ve received – speaking of which, they retained their hat status in the recent Good Food Awards…I digress.

Anyways, just when you thought they had done it all – great restaurant, fabulous cookbooks, seriously hard to get into cooking classes – now they have a bar. It’s completely separate to the restaurant, but has that same could be in Bali feel about it – albeit a much sleeker could be in Bali feel than the restaurant does.

The mural at Hong Sa

Set in the lush gardens of Spirit House, Hong Sa’s bar is dark and moodily lit, with the centrepiece the mural of the golden swan – a symbol of kindness, gentleness, richness and happiness. According to the menu, it’s a traditional Thai tattoo down as Pa Ya Hong Tong. It also happens to be very striking.

The deck, however, is the place to be – especially on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Barrel-aged cocktails seem to be quite the thing at the moment and Hong Sa had 2 on offer – a negroni and a manhattan. I opted for the negroni, but other than that the signature cocktail range is an interesting one.

As for the food? Song Ha’s list of bar snacks changes regularly. We were after a really light lunch so went with the coffin bay oysters with a tangy red nahm jim, massaman lamb pies with homemade tomato sauce, Mooloolaba prawn roll with tom yum mayonnaise, and Hiramassa kingfish skewers with green nahm jim.

It all had the same full of flavour Thai with a twist creativity that we’ve come to expect from Spirit House – and is just a tad easier to get into these days!

Where: Spirit House is at 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina

More info: Their Facebook page is 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.

Recipes?

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.