Mya Tiger, a classic Cantonese restaurant and cocktail bar overlooking the bar, is now open at Hotel Esplanade. Sitting atop The Espy’s grand staircase, Mya Tiger offers up flavour-packed Cantonese, tasty cocktails and front-row seats to St Kilda’s epic sunsets.
Welcoming and warm, Mya Tiger is inspired by the Chinese cook-shops that sprang up throughout St Kilda during Victoria’s 1850s gold rush era. Taking references from the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, this space offers views of Port Phillip Bay and the buzz on the terrace below. Guests can start off with a drink at the emerald-rich cocktail bar, complete with green velvet booths and stunning hand-painted mural by 8 Food Walls. Moving into the restaurant, golden velvet banquettes are adorned with tassel details and set against dark timbers that warm the space. Floor to ceiling steel-frame windows look over the void of the main staircase and French chandelier, and aged-rattan feature ceiling look down on the main dining area. Traditional fans cool the space, while operable windows welcome in the sea breeze and showcase St Kilda in all her splendour.
Head Chef Sarah Chan (ex Longrain and Lotus Dining) worked closely with The Espy’s Executive Chef Ash Hicks to create a classic Cantonese menu that is made to share and best enjoyed with loved ones. Chan describes her philosophy as ‘food tantra’ – the natural high that one gets from eating your favourite food. “I like to create flavours that linger and leave you thinking about them the next day. Fresh and packed with tonnes of flavour”, she says.
For Mya Tiger, she has drawn on her own childhood favourites, matured for a sophisticated Melbourne palate. Guests can start off with classic snacks like sesame prawn toast and Chongqing wings before diving into scallop prawn siumai, ginger chicken dumplings and crispy pork bao. There are plenty of tasty vegetables, like the honey caramel eggplant, salt & pepper and tofu, and fried green beans with chilli and cashews; the perfect accompaniment to Mya Tiger’s meats – roast duck, car siu pork and crispy pork belly. Seafood reigns supreme for mains, with crispy friend whole market fish, XO pippies and Typhoon King prawns, sitting alongside black pepper Sher wagyu beef, crispy skin chicken and sweet sour pork. Mango coconut pudding, red bean pancake and ice cream sandwich complete the feast on a sweet note.
“Mya Tiger is a place you can come for any occasion and you’ll be comfortable enough to order anything. There’s a real sense of familiarity and nostalgia with the menu, which works perfectly in a building that has as much history and soul as The Espy”.
Group Bars Manager Kevin Peters worked closely with Chan to create a fun and vibrant cocktail menu that not only complements the food menu, but stands on its own merit. Using many of the ingredients used on the food menu, as well as different teas from across Asia, drinks burst with flavours people are familiar with, but presented in a fresh and unique way. The clean and refreshing Beijing Peach, for example, brings together jasmine-infused Wyborowa Polish Vodka, lime and peach, while the Chinese 5 Spice Highball uses infused Havana Especial, pepsi and citrus to take on the famed Cuba Libre. There is also custom-coloured retro-style fridge full of self-serve craft beers.
The Mya Tiger wine list is completely built around the menu, with the cornerstones being sweet, salty, sour and spicy. Group Sommelier Matt Skinner has drawn on aromatic whites and lighter reds, with a strong representation of Riesling and Pinor Noir from local producers and international big-hitters, and a big focus on value for money with the bulk of the wine under $100. The wine list also features ‘Producers We Love’ page which rotate every two months – the first is Rieslingfreak from South Australia’s Clare Valley.
Mya Tiger completes the landmark redevelopment of St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade. The first phase of the impressive five-level hotel opened earlier this month, opening up parts of building that many never knew existed. Privately owned hospitality group, Sand Hill Road bought The Espy in May 2017 and have spent the past eighteen months lovingly restoring the seaside icon to her former grandeur and glory, creating 12 bars, two restaurants and three stages across the expansive property.
Mya Tiger at Hotel Esplanade
11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
03 9534 0211