Bringing the heat of the Torres Strait to Melbourne’s dining scene

Be transported to a beach bar in the Torres Strait, as Mabu Mabu – Big Esso beams sunshine and tropical flavours across Fed Square.

Every morning before school in her idyllic childhood home in the Torres Strait, Nornie Bero would walk the reef in search of clams and other tasty treats.

‘Island life is so natural. After school we’d go out to get fresh catch, as part of general kid awesomeness. I can appreciate that now as an adult,’ said Nornie, who grew up on Mer Island in the Torres Strait.

‘We’d make our own snacks out of what we caught from the ocean, like periwinkles – sea snails are so cool. We always had good food in our stomachs,’ Nornie said.

She moved to Melbourne to become a chef when she turned 18.

Chef in a kitchen

Nornie Bero

And while Nornie has spent her adulthood sharpening her skills in Melbourne’s rich hospitality scene, the flavours of the Torres Strait have always called her home.

Now she’s bringing the heat of her home island to Fed Square through Mabu Mabu –Big Esso, a restaurant and bar serving up traditional island flavours and mouth-watering indigenous ingredients.

Think saltbush and pepperberry fried crocodile. Fish soup. Kangaroo tail with island-fried scones. Charred emu with cassava crisps. Gin infused with peppermint gum.

‘We’re bringing colour and sunshine to Fed Square. Bringing all the flavours of the islands to Melbourne and showcasing the really great cuisine of the Torres Strait.’

‘The flavours of the Torres Strait are like being on a summer’s beach. When you’re at Big Esso you’re always going to feel like you’re in a beach bar having a drink and hanging out with your mates.’

‘Customers are part of the family too. We want you to try not only the amazing food, but also the amazing drinks coming out of Australia. We’re really sticking with 100 per cent Australian and indigenous produce.’

Plate of food at a restaurant

Indigenous ingredients feature on the menu