Life & Style Weekend - - FOOD & WINE -

Au­then­tic flavours and bustling am­bi­ence fit for any down­town Bangkok restau­rant have made their home on the Sun­shine Coast in a restau­rant un­like any other. Sum Yung Guys has been en­tirely crafted by the four busi­ness part­ners who shared the restau­rant dream to cap­ture the warmth, en­ergy and style that re­sem­bles the food on your plate. With a dream to ex­cel in all ar­eas of their busi­ness, the usu­ally sold-out Sun­shine Beach venue blew the lid off all ex­pec­ta­tions for our lat­est mys­tery diner.


You know you are headed to a busy restau­rant when the on­line book­ing sys­tem lets you know you only have a strict 1.5-hour limit on din­ing time for book­ings be­fore 7.30pm. When we ar­rived, the place was buzzing. It’s not a large restau­rant and I don’t think they could squeeze in any more cus­tomers, but this seems to add to the buzzy am­bi­ence. There’s plenty of real theme here, from the ceil­ing fans to the tuk tuk in the mid­dle of the din­ing room. The dec­o­ra­tion is clever and rus­tic in an Asian street food kind of way, but the im­por­tant things such as chairs and ta­bles are sturdy and com­fort­able, let­ting you know that this isn’t just a half-hearted fit-out.


De­spite be­ing in­cred­i­bly busy, at­ten­tion to de­tail here is sec­ond to none. Well-trained staff en­sured all ar­eas of the restau­rant – ta­bles, floor, bar, kitchen and bath­rooms – were all kept clean and tidy through a bustling ser­vice.


The funky re­fit of the old Co­conut Grove site pro­vides an au­then­tic Asian feel, from the bright spray-painted mu­ral to the fun neon in­door sig­nage and slightly tatty bam­boo blinds It’s stylised but not too pol­ished, which is a good thing be­cause no one wants a fit-out too fancy when you are headed out for a fun meal. The solid wa­ter glasses, branded beer and wine glasses were bet­ter-than-usual qual­ity and au­then­tic cut­lery and crock­ery def­i­nitely added to the pre­sen­ta­tion of the meals.


Sum Yung Guys is a highly pro­fes­sional out­let when it comes to ser­vice and care­fully treads the line be­tween staff serv­ing ta­bles as fast as they can to en­sure good turnover and be­ing friendly and ef­fi­cient. This is a fast-paced restau­rant and the ser­vice matches it well. Ex­pe­ri­enced staff en­sure drinks ar­rive promptly. Rec­om­men­da­tions are of­fered in re­gards to cock­tails, wine and menu se­lec­tions, all of which helped us to choose ex­actly what was right for us on the night. While we had one waiter look­ing af­ter us, sev­eral other staff checked in to help by of­fer­ing us more drinks, top­ping up our wa­ters and also to clear empty glass­ware, which was a great ex­am­ple of front-of-house teamwork.


Here is where Sum Yung Guys re­ally shines. Our meals are packed with flavour. Prawn toasts are gen­er­ous in the amount of prawn and flavour and the king­fish with chilli,

co­conut and laksa oil is burst­ing with flavour, too, if not a lit­tle on the sweet side. The high­light from our choices was the medium-size plate of beef ren­dang with shal­lot, cu­cum­ber and steamed rice – slow­cooked beef cheek, cooked in a per­fectly bal­anced curry un­til it is both fall­ing apart and gelati­nous and sticky all at the same time. In the large plate se­lec­tions, we chose two cur­ries – a green curry with bar­ra­mundi and tofu, and a red curry with con­fit duck. Like the rest of our meals, they were burst­ing with lots of flavour and to­tally more-ish. We were told that we had over-or­dered at the start of the meal, which is fine, as all our left­overs (there was lots) were bun­dled up for us to take home, let­ting us keep room for dessert. We chose the co­conut panna cotta with pas­sion­fruit and mint which was creamy, cold and not too sweet – per­fect af­ter the heat of the cur­ries.


There is a strong em­pha­sis on cock­tails and beer, with the restau­rant us­ing be­spoke spir­its pri­vately dis­tilled for them in a few of their of­fer­ings. While we were there, it seemed like the sound of the cock­tail shaker never stopped – a sign of plenty of cus­tomers en­joy­ing them­selves. With a menu that has plenty of heat, it is usu­ally a safe bet to match beer with most things and there is a good of­fer­ing of lo­cally brewed craft beers to keep all tastes happy. The wine list is small­ish but cov­ers most bases, with glasses rang­ing from $9-$15. It in­cludes mainly Aus­tralian wines, con­cen­trat­ing on lighter styles that suit the cui­sine.


It is go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult for any restau­rant on the Sun­shine Coast to beat Sum Yung Guys in terms of value for money. The ser­vice was friendly and ef­fi­cient. The feel of the restau­rant is buzzy and trendy. The cock­tails are be­spoke and in­ter­est­ing, and the food was packed with flavour and


BUSY BAR­MAN: Sean Dun­can mixes cock­tails at Sum Yung Guys.

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