For a taste of Thai, you don't have to go any further than Yadina on the Gold Coast.
Helen and Paul Brierty's background is in restaurants and they have a special love of Asia, particularly Thailand.
They have combined all the things they enjoy and seven years ago turned a bare cow paddock into an oasis of tropical Asian gardens, ponds, a series of private courtyards surrounded by more ponds. The result is an award-winning restaurant.
At Yandina, not far from the Sunshine Coast, is the Spirit House, named after traditional Thai shrines which are believed to bring peace and prosperity.
Seven chefs and 35 other staff keep Spirit House running smoothly, and it's true that once you arrive there you have the feeling of being whisked across the ocean to a tranquil place far away. The beautiful furniture, artwork and carvings were brought in from Thailand.
The fully licensed restaurant is open from noon each day and from 6pm from Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. Their most popular dish is crispy reef fish with tamarind chilli sauce, but reading through the menu and attempting to make a decision is a difficult thing.
So popular are the amazing flavours and aromas of Spirit House's dishes, they run hands-on cooking classes, and people come from near and far to learn some of the secrets.
Up to 16 people work around one large bench, armed with a knife and chopping board and by the end of the lesson the group has created four to six dishes which they share and enjoy with a glass of wine.
Wok and Asian barbecue classes are great for busy people, and there are banquet classes where you can learn to cook dishes that in years past have been served only to the Thai Royal family.
You will learn about ingredients such as palm sugar, galangal, fish sauce, coconut, cardamom and the important roles they play in the wonderful meals. Many ingredients are grown in the kitchen garden which you can wander through at the morning tea break.
You will be shown how to "cure" a new wok, making it suitable to use, and if you find the lesson has made you really enthusiastic, you can buy a starter kit to take home.
Whether you want to visit Spirit House restaurant or attend one of their classes, you will need to book.
Yandina, around one-and-a-half hours north of Brisbane
Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School classes cost $85 per person and run four days a week.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School
4 Ninderry Road Yandina 4561
Restaurant Ph: (07) 5446 8994
Cooking School Ph: (07) 5446 firstname.lastname@example.org