Destination dining on Queensland's Sunshine Coast

There are many gaps in my dining history but one of the ones that has irked the most has been settled and I finally know what people have been talking about for years.

Yes, I made it to Spirit House, a Sunshine Coast dining destination that has won wide acclaim but never seemed to fit into my schedule.

It's a Sunshine Coast and Asian dining icon, a perfect example of destination dining and the sort of place where you'll be glad if lunch stretches out to take in a few hours.

Located at Yandina in the hinterland about a half hour drive from the coast, it's like walking into another, secret Asian world. The serenity is almost palpable with winding, bamboo lined paths dotted with red lanterns and shrines beside ponds and water features.

The local wildlife is convinced and there's a strong bearded dragon contingent lapping up the serenity and ducks who fly in to check out what the humans are having for lunch today.

The menu deserves to be widely sampled and my next visit will be organised with a group of food-loving friends so we can try and share lots of dishes.  It's also a chilli lovers heaven with most dishes including a spot of hot.

Start with a cocktail, as I did, and sit back to enjoy the view while your meal is prepared.

We started with lightly seared scallops on puffed roti topped with a fragrant fried green salad with peppercorns and crisp pork belly with a caramel sauce.  We were told not to waste a drop of the sauce and pour it over the top of the pork which was good advice.  The thick pork was exquisitely marbled with an oh-so-crisp skin.

Every mouthful is a delight at this restaurant.  The flavour combinations are unusual and strong enough to make your taste buds sit up to attention but not overpowering.

Here's what we enjoyed -

Salt and pepper bugs with sweet chilli syrup, pineapple and pork floss

Salad of fried green pawpaw with peanuts, snake beans and tamarind with fish sauce dressing.

Coconut braised beef ribs with green curry and fragrant Thai salad.

My only complaint about this food is that it's too good!  It's the sort of meal where you know you've really had enough and the next mouthful would be a mistake, but you still do it anyhow.   And then you order dessert...   Of course, there was no dinner after this lunch, just a cup of tea and memories was all that was required.

Peanut Bavarois with puffed rice, berry jelly and salted caramel.

Can't get enough of Spirit House food? The Spirit House Cooking School has recently experienced a makeover with new appliances and stainless steel work areas.  Classes are held daily  and can be booked online.

Best tip: Try the chef's selection Thai banquet for an easy way to work through the menu.

Bottom line:  Entrees are around $14, mains $36 and dessert $15.

Have you eaten at Spirit House?  What was your favourite dish?

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Spirit House.