At the Mövenpick Hotel’s swish restaurant, Miss Mi, Borneo-born head chef Esca Khoo uses the kitchen as a platform to highlight the evolution of Asian-Australian dining. Or to put it another way, he tries to imagine what Asian food might look like in years to come – if people from Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand were to have lived in Melbourne for a long time, and the ways they might re-interpret their heritage cuisines.

Through a set tasting menu, Khoo explores cross-cultural flavours and ingredients – something that comes naturally to him, given his time spent across two continents and working in innovative kitchens such as Longrain and Dinner by Heston, and the Noma pop-up in Sydney.

You’ll find influences from East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka scattered throughout the ever-changing menu, which features mains, nibbles and a selection of street snacks informed by sustainable kitchen practices.

The red-kangaroo skewer is an exemplary dish; an Australianised take on Malaysian chicken satay where the meat is barbequed, glazed with Vegemite, and served with avocado and macadamia (a native stand-in for peanut). Other highlights might include a citrus-marinated fish dish from Borneo that Khoo prepares with almonds, star fruit and sea grapes; and coconut ice-cream with fermented jackfruit, strawberries and apple ice for dessert.

The Southeast Asian inspiration spills into to the drinks menu, with cocktails like the Pandan Colada or a Margarita with Thai chilli and cucumber. To pair with them, in the adjoining bar, are bites like spiral curry puffs with mustard sambal: Khoo’s childhood snack.

The space has high ceilings and windows overlooking the Southern Cross end of Bourke Street. The seating is a multi-textured mix of wicker chairs and green-leather couches, plus a few seats along the bar.

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Updated: December 1st, 2022

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