Mabu Mabu

7:00am - 4:00pm
13 Anderson Street Yarraville


Nornie Bero is from Mer Island in the Torres Strait, where she grew up eating large communal meals. She’s the chef and owner of Mabu Mabu – a saying in the Torres Strait Islands which means “help yourself.” The cafe is her way of celebrating the dishes and native ingredients of her home.

Mabu Mabu began as a stall at the South Melbourne Market, selling sauces and condiments made from native ingredients, such as bush tomato seasoning, a desert-herb meat rub and pineapple hot sauce. Eventually Bero moved the business into the former home of Cobb Lane Bakery.

A bright teal door leads into the white-bricked interior, with timber accents in the banquette, seats and floating shelves that display Bero’s condiments alongside wares from other Indigenous-owned businesses.

A mural by Indigenous artist Charlotte Allingham along one wall shows three women laughing and having a good time over a meal: exactly the kind of experience Bero wants customers to have here.

On the menu, you might find Sop sop: a traditional meal of yams and taro braised in coconut milk, or namas – kingfish cured in coconut and lime, served with sesame and prawn crackers. More modern takes include kangaroo tail bourguignon slow-cooked with native thyme and pepperberries, and bush tacos with your choice of spiced emu, market fish or yams.

To drink there’s kombucha from Lore and non-alcoholic beer from Sobah (both Indigenous-owned businesses). There are also house-made teas flavoured with desert lime or hibiscus syrups, a nutty wattleseed latte and chai with pepperberry.

Updated: February 25th, 2021

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