SUM YUNG GUYS
TRENDY MODERN-ASIAN RESTAURANT IN SUNSHINE BEACH BLOWS LID OFF EXPECTATIONS
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.
AMBIENCE AND APPEAL
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.