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HOT: Spirit House – 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina, Sunshine Coast.

Several credible sources have suggested to me over the last couple of years that the best Thai experience to be found is well off the beaten track in the Sunshine Coast hinterland at Spirit House, order Yandina.  So whilst on our week-long break at Moooloolaba earlier this year, story MM and I decided to indulge in a romantic, tranquil evening at Spirit House as a gift to each other for Christmas. 

Just to set the scene and give you a bit of background on Spirit House – the owners purchased the land in Yandina in the mid 90’s and spent a long four years working on the landscaping alone to give their patrons a truly serene, peaceful and cultural experience as they walk through the Spirit House gates.  A short trek through palm laden gardens and thick jungle rain forest laced with flickering lanterns and the occasional water dragon will set the scene for a remarkable dining experience, well removed from the rat race.

Along with its renowned Thai cooking school, the Spirit House premises are nestled in the leafy surrounds around a peaceful lake with intimate seating catering for couples, small groups, or larger functions.

Spirit House dining consists of to two seatings – MM and I took a 6pm booking and had the benefit of wandering through the serene gardens in the early evening and enjoyed watching a humid, cloudy dusk fall over the premises which added to the overall experience.

Our waiter was vibrant and friendly and made a few good recommendations on cocktails and dishes to choose from.  The Spirit House master minds pride themselves on their tasting plates to share and MM and I weren’t about to buck the system.  The shared dining menu boasts many contemporary Asian flavour combinations (too many to choose from in fact) and we embraced the share plate theme in a big way, deciding on 4 plates (all priced at $12) between just the two of us for entrees.

The crispy pork belly with citrus caramel sauce was as good as it sounds.  The tender pork belly meat was ribboned with just the right amount of juicy streaks of fat and a thin layer of crackling on top.  The citrus sauce was like nothing I’ve ever tasted and we both literally licked our plates clean (all class).

We next divulged the candied lemongrass scallops with charred pineapple and three flavour dressing.  I don’t know what the three flavours were, but they were tangy, sweet and spicy all at once and the scallops were cooked to perfection.

The miang of smoked prawn with finger lime, chilli and palm sugar was again an amazing mix of flavours and it’s hard to fathom that such a wonderful balance of intense heat, sweetness and sour tang can be achieved in one small mouthful.  Finally, the soft shell crab with chilli garlic sauce tasting plate was my least favourite of the entrees, but this is not to say that it wasn’t delicious. It just didn’t carry the same uniqueness and grace that the previous dishes had delivered.

After insisting on a small hiatus between entrees and mains to allow some time for digestion and recovery from what was truly an exceptional culinary experience, I waited with bated breath on the arrival of our two main dishes which we also shared.

MM was sold on the char grilled beef ribs with sweet chilli dressing ($39) and on their arrival to the table it was love at first sight.  The tender meaty ribs were resting on a tangy, summery citrus mint salad and when all the flavours were combined it was a truly original, sumptuous flavour explosion.

Our second main was the lemon grass curry of chicken with Kaffir lime ($36).  This was described as a dry curry but it rested in quite a lot of sauce and the dish was packed to the brim with fresh, plump chicken breast pieces.  The lemongrass flavour was strong but not overwhelming; while the chilli paste packed a reasonable punch it wasn’t too much.  Again, the Spirit House kitchen magicians managed to present a beautiful dish with each authentic spice individually discernable yet perfectly balanced and so well matched to its neighbouring flavour.

Top buttons down, we settled for green tea instead of dessert and sighed in a true state of contentment and awe.

Don’t expect to have much in the way of spare change after your visit to Spirit House.  If you just go for a main meal, then perhaps your hip pocket won’t be too badly hit, but to be honest you probably shouldn’t bother if you’re not going to exhaust the majority of options on this exceptional menu.

  • Spirit House – 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina, Sunshine Coast +61 7 5446 8994
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Discussion

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  1. I hate reading your blog…it always makes me soooo hungry grrrr.

    But must remember Yandina on my next romantic planned trip!

    Posted by Belly | February 15, 2011, 11:19 am

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