Updated: Feb 24
It’s not your usual cafe food, but when this Glen Waverley wholesaler wanted to sell more of its Australian sea urchin, it opened an eatery so people could try before they buy. Now it’s one of Melbourne’s most unique dining experiences.
Surrounded by houses, a tech company, mixed martial arts and an indoor play centre, it is an unassuming exterior which is home to a burgeoning new entrant to the Glen Waverley food scene.
The fact there is a restaurant inside what is essentially a warehouse is only upped in intrigue by what it specialises in — sea urchins and edible bird's nests.
Uni Boom Boom was set up about six months ago to show potential clients of wholesale distributor Pacific Sea Urchin Australia how their products were best used.
Restaurant manager Johnson Teoh said they always believed in their product and loved the Monash location, but it didn’t get a lot of traffic.
“So we set up an experience cafe,” he said.
“By doing that, our customers could experience our sea urchins and bird's nests.
Starting with three or four tables squeezed in an indoor passageway of the warehouse, it has grown to offer lunch and dinner five days a week.
Jessica Teoh founded the family business in 2008, arriving in Monash in August 2017.
Working closely with Monash Council’s public health unit, the business gets sea urchins harvested throughout the east coast of Australia, exporting them to Japan, Hong Kong, the US, Singapore and Taiwan,
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It also imports bird’s nests from Malaysia before distributing them across Australia and into China.
Business owner James Liew said the quality of some Australian sea urchins — which vary in taste and price according to colour and texture — were on par with world-leader Japan.
Mr Liew is passionate regarding educating the public about sea urchins and the quality of the food on their doorstep, ultimately resulting in the industry growing as a whole.
“Monash has good potential when it comes to our target audience,” he said.
“The main thing about this place is education.
“Spread the word how good Australian sea urchins are, including medicinal benefits.
“We want to promote health, wellbeing and something that’s good for consumers.”