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Sum Yung Guys: the masters of Asian fusion

8.6Overall Score

Sum Yung Guys
Shop 8, 46 Duke Street, Sunshine Beach
Open 7 days, 12pm – 8:30pm
07 5324 1391
Visit their website

Sum Yung Guys, the brainchild of Masterchef runner up Matt Sinclair, serves up a mean pan-Asian feast with punchy flavours, mellow spices and a whole lot of sweetness in a vibrant, casual atmosphere.

Tucked away behind a convenience store and beachy pub on a quiet suburban strip is Sum Yung Guys – an eatery that can be easily missed if you don’t look up.

Just next door to Noosa, Sunshine Beach is a funky yet affluent suburb and Sum Yung Guys have managed to make themselves right at home by creating a casual vibe which is rarely seen in Noosa’s high-achieving restaurants. With communal wrap-around bars, splashes of neon, high ceilings and a ten metre mural that pays homage to Asian cartoons gone by, the space is quaint but definitely welcoming which might be a reason why Sum Yung Guys has been reaching capacity each night since it’s opening in June last year.

Sum Yung Guys seem to still be finding their overall atmosphere and theme with mismatched furniture and a fusion of modern decor (long wooden bars, Western table settings and leafy greens adorning the ceilings) and Asian touches (neon, brick courtyards and mammoth industrial lamps) but their well-devised menu has a unanimous theme that heroes Asian cuisine.

The seasonal menu is split into three: small, medium and large plates. Being on a table of six, we queried our waiter how many plates would be suitable for us – two large, three medium and one to two small. Following her orders, we ordered just that (but remembered to swap out some plates for dessert).

After indulging in more than one kaffir lime, palm sugar and Thai basil-infused cocktail, we tucked in for the feast. About ten minutes after ordering, our Moo Ping skewers (Thai street food style pork) arrived – a simple introduction for the flavours to come. Minutes later we were tucking into the mandarin cured swordfish served with nan jim, coconut gel and kaffir lime – a dish that was tiny but packed flavours that lasted all night. The swordfish sashimi tasted as if it had been marinated for days in the sourness of mandarin, while the nan jim (Thai for dipping sauce) and coconut gel, generously dolloped only contributed more layers of flavour.

Next up were the “mediums”. Alongside a bottle of Rieslingfreak, we devoured tom kha (Thai-style coconut broth) mussels. For $24, we were given a generous amount of mussels and plenty of tom kha broth left over to scoop up. Equally tasty was the SYG sweet and sour pork served with sesame, jalapeno and pineapple caramel which seemed a little more like dessert than dinner. At this point in the night, it seemed that all meals were to have a seriously sweet flavour – a hallmark of Asian dishes. Although I love everything sweet, my only discrepancy was that there was nothing salty to provide balance. Among the palm sugar-based cocktails, sweetly cured sashimi, tom kha and sweet and sour meats, the flavours began to dissolve into one gloriously sugary fusion of coconut and kaffir lime.

Being from a family that eats fried rice daily, we could not go past the duck and shitake fried rice with toasted cashew. Once again mastering the sweetness that makes Asian food internationally-loved, the bite-size duck accompanied the strong nuttiness of toasted cashews and mushroom. Finally giving us the salty hit we all craved was the beef cheek red curry with apple eggplant which needed a salt-dusted, honey-drizzled roti bread to soak up the fantastically spicy sauce.

Topping off an amazing dinner of Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese flavours was coffee panna cotta with perfectly matched condensed milk and salted sesame – a flawless recreation of Vietnamese coffee culture. Much lighter was mango jelly, coconut sorbet, roasted white chocolate, kaffir and macadamia – a sensible choice to finish off a night of eating, drinking and more eating.

After getting a peek at Matt Sinclair’s familiar face as we passed the half-exposed kitchen, our experience at Sum Yung Guys was complete, and surprisingly enough, we all agreed that we ate what seemed like mountains of food (and palm sugar) yet our stomachs didn’t feel that familiar ache of over-eating.

Dining at Sum Yung Guys is a must-do when visiting Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Although the restaurant would fare amazingly in an urban location, it provides an unusual contrast to Noosa’s seafood-based cuisine and because of Sum Yung Guys’ spot in Queensland, the eatery is looking to become one of the state’s most celebrated spots.

Sum Yung Guys, although a relatively youthful project by Matt Sinclair and his mates, is an eatery that will never age: its menu changes every three months, its undecided, fusion-inspired decor evokes an atmosphere that matures the space while keeping it stylish and casual and I highly doubt that it will ever have issues filling up tables each night for years to come. Just make sure you book!

(Featured Image: Sum Yung Guys Facebook)