The Espy's new restaurant, Mya Tiger, is open

After an 18-month renovation, St Kilda's Hotel Esplanade (The Espy) reopened last month, and this week welcomes its restaurant and cocktail bar, Mya Tiger.

The Cantonese diner overlooking the water is designed to be a nod to the Chinese restaurants that sprang up throughout St Kilda during Victoria’s 1850s gold rush era, while also referencing Singapore's famously grand dining, shopping and hotel venue, the Raffles Hotel. Though the area now is not known for its Cantonese restaurants, Mya Tiger could face stiff competition against St Kilda Cantonese institution, Lau's Family Kitchen.

Head chef is Sarah Chan, formerly Longrain, who designed the playful menu with The Espy’s executive chef Ash Hicks. Chan says she has drawn on childhood favourites, like sesame prawn toast, but “matured” them. The menu is a list of classic hits, with crisp-pork bao, salt and pepper tofu, fried green beans with chilli and cashews, char siu pork, and XO pippies.

“I like to create flavours that linger and leave you thinking about them the next day. Fresh and packed with tonnes of flavour”, says Chan.

Group Bars Manager Kevin Peters worked closely with Chan to create the cocktail menu. It combines ingredients like Chinese five-spice with rum and coke, and jasmine and vodka. The wine list will also focus on light reds and dry whites, to pair easily with spice.

This is the first phase of the Sand Hill Road hospitality group's plan to restore The Espy, with a total of 12 bars, two restaurants and three live-music stages slated for the venue.

Photography: Simon Shiff.