Public and newly-appointed Executive Chef Karen Martini are gearing up to unveil Saint George, formerly Saint, an Italian-inspired tavern and grill in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

Martini will be returning to her hometown of St Kilda, where she spent an early period of her career at The George Hotel. The name of the venue, Saint George, ties Martini’s history in the area with the new opportunity of the hotel.

For Saint George, Martini has created an Italian-inspired menu featuring handmade pasta and woodfired cooking, invigorated by Martini’s signature rich flavours and inventive culinary style.

“Opening Saint George in St Kilda, to me, is like coming home. My food is in constant evolution and I’ve been working on a menu that I think will be both accessible and exciting, capturing the essence of a warmer, casual fare. I look forward to swinging open the doors in early 2024,” Martini said.

Split into two spaces, Saint George will offer a menu focusing on antipasti and primi, and another featuring snacks and shareplates. The Grill menu will offer dishes such as Tuna marinata with capers, anchovy and sorrel bruschetta, spaghettini with spanner crab brodetto sauce, and whole flounder with salmoriglio cooked on a Josper Grill. The snack plate-oriented Tavern menu will include oysters, fritto misto, fried fish burgers and paccheri Bolognese.

Martini’s culinary career has included executive chef roles at the Melbourne Wine Room, Sydney’s Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar and St Kilda pizzeria Mr. Wolf. She also has experience as a food editor of Fairfax’s Sunday Life Magazine and the Epicure Good Living liftout, as well as publishing several cookbooks. She is a familiar figure on Australian television, winning seven Logies across her career in shows such as Better Homes and Gardens and My Kitchen Rules.

Saint George’s predecessor, Saint, opened in March 2023 following a major renovation of the encompassing Saint Hotel under a separate operating group. As building owners of the Saint Hotel, Public will now assume operational responsibility of the venue, with Martini taking charge of the culinary side. The space will also receive a design update, with a brightened colour palate and contemporary furnishings layered over the foundations and premium elements of the existing renovation. The finished space will be bright and modern, with a warm and inviting feel.

The opening date of Saint George will be announced later this summer.

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