Hot Plates: Hong Sa Bar, Yandina

Author: Fiona Donnelly
Photography: Amy Higg

The latest addition to Spirit House should really come with a warning. The sleek single-storey, charcoal-toned Hong Sa Bar inspires Grand Designs-type flights of fancy. Visit - even fleetingly - and you'll leave Yandina hankering to create your own contemporary tropical idyll.

Asian-influenced cocktails.

Set on Spirit House's lush two hectares of garden, Hong Sa is beautifully detailed. The 24-seat private dining room has a courtyard garden and a striking backlit wall installation of almost 600 Buddha heads. The right wing houses the dark-toned, moodily lit bar, with copper accents and bird murals. A bank of floor-to-ceiling windows leads to the centrepiece deck, and the glass can be pulled open concertina-style to take advantage of the Sunshine Coast climate. 

Snacks from the regularly changing bar menu.

The deck, kitted out with low tables and assorted cane pieces, is a magical spot to share the creative bar offerings of chef Tom Swapp - porky Chiang Mai sausage, say, or a hot and sour rejig of a Queensland prawn roll, stuffed with sweet Mooloolaba king prawns in spicy lime-spiked tom yum mayonnaise.

The back wall of the private dining room.

The 10 regularly changing snacks feature the kind of explosive flavours that characterise Thai cooking but many are twists on classics.

Massaman, for instance, arrives party pie style, the rich minced lamb fragrant with coconut and lemongrass curry paste, with a lightly spiced tomato sauce to the side. Juicy hunks of grilled kingfish are scattered with toasted rice powder and served like sang choi bau. A miang of ginger is more traditional: a stack of glossy betel leaves arranged on a tray with a copper pot of tamarind chutney, red onion, sliced chilli, roasted peanuts, fresh ginger, dried shrimp and roasted coconut.

The miang.

The two choices for dessert are equally thoughtful: cinnamon sugar-sprinkled bao are filled with Thai tea-flavoured ice-cream topped with a splodge of tart raspberry jam, while marshmallows skewered on lemongrass are zinged up with kaffir lime sugar and fresh passionfruit.

A couple of barrel-aged cocktails round out a suitably Asian-influenced list, or there's a tight, spice-friendly wine offer by the glass.

Hong Sa Bar, Spirit House, 20 Ninderry Rd, Yandina, Qld, (07) 5446 8994, spirithouse.com.au







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