My colleague was exploring Pasar Seni when she stumbled throughout a restaurant snuggled amongst rows of eateries, florists, and memento outlets within the vibrant space.
It was AOOO Melbourne Cafe (AOOO). Catching her curiosity, she entered, and learnt that there was extra to the place than meets the attention.
For one, its identify is impressed by Australian Aboriginal Artwork, the place dots and circles are outstanding components. Operating it are Angie Zhong and her husband, CK Beh, who defined the identify in an interview with Vulcan Submit.
Secondly, this cafe is the results of a shared dream that they had all through their marriage of 13 years.
And eventually, the place AOOO sits at present was once a document store referred to as Yan Kee Information & Recording, whose decor the couple had chosen to maintain when opening up their cafe.
Right here’s how it began.
In reminiscence of an previous document store
Yan Kee itself was established in 1950, CK stated, and he added that it was a spot frequented by international singers and film stars within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. However then the Motion Management Order (MCO) in 2020 compelled its closure.
Till Angie and CK determined to open the cafe.
Talking brazenly to us, CK stated that he rented the house out of a want to protect the reminiscences of the previous document store. “I additionally occurred to have a big assortment of cassettes, CDs, and vinyl data, making it an ideal match for the cafe’s theme.”
At this time, patrons can nonetheless discover glimpses of the cafe’s previous in its decor. On the partitions, you’ll find vinyls and CDs of previous classics like The Beatles, Shania Twain, and Theresa Teng.
From Shanghai to Melbourne, then Malaysia
Hailing from Penang, CK first met Angie in Shanghai, the place she’s initially from. That they had gotten collectively earlier than she determined to depart advertising and marketing administration to embark on a extra food-related journey.
That’s how she ended up in Melbourne furthering her research and delving into hospitality administration, together with skilled culinary and barista expertise.
In the meantime, CK had led a life travelling between Shanghai (the place he was working) and Melbourne to steadiness between work and private life. It may appear a little bit hectic, however he was decided to make it work with Angie.
Upon graduating, Angie stayed on in Melbourne and operated a restaurant with a neighborhood Aussie companion. Even when the pandemic occurred and prompted CK to calm down in KL, she was nonetheless working overseas.
Till 2022, when the couple lastly reunited for good and determined to open their very own espresso store.
They leveraged Angie’s wealth of expertise within the cafe trade, her time in Melbourne, and CK’s curiosity in previous data, and the remaining was historical past.
A homage to her culinary time in Melbourne
“With our distinctive theme and site in a tourist-friendly space, we goal to draw guests in search of an genuine and memorable eating expertise throughout their keep in KL,” CK shared.
Maybe not essentially genuine by way of the meals that they provide, however extra so with reference to the attentive and hospitable service the couple offers to each patron, a standard reward we observed of their Google evaluations part.
However the meals stands out in its personal manner too, as you’ll find much less generally provided meals gadgets right here. This consists of the Savoury Minced Beef on Mashed Potatoes (RM32), Aussie Kabsa Rooster Pie with salad (RM20), and Mediterranean Seafood Rice (RM32).
You could find some Asian delights as effectively, corresponding to Seafood Udon (RM30) and Gyudon (RM30). If you happen to’re feeling extra adventurous, there’s AOOO’s Chef’s Specials (RM36), crafted every day by Angie.
For individuals who want lighter bites, the cafe additionally provides selfmade baked items like muffins, focaccia, and pies. Some are made by Angie herself, whereas the remaining are both outsourced following Angie’s recipes or from different distributors.
Bridging the previous with the current
All that stated, it’s simple that standing out in such a saturated space in KL will be difficult. The cafe itself isn’t located on a primary road, which is a slight hurdle by way of visibility.
Apart from that, the couple shared that their major wrestle now’s staffing. Discovering expert and appropriate employees is a standard challenge many F&B house owners in Malaysia appear to face.
So to distinguish AOOO, the couple channels their efforts into serving a various menu, and serving to the placement’s wealthy historical past shine.
“We goal to hold on the musical legacy of this location, bridging the previous with the current,” CK said.
Sticking to a extra natural development technique
Because the cafe began, CK shared that it has been their full-time dedication. However he additionally engages within the administration of some IT initiatives on the facet.
Again then, he was once concerned in finance, administration, and enterprise improvement. So it’s attention-grabbing to see that he’s nonetheless upholding that talent set even with this new eatery.
Throughout my colleague’s go to, she famous that AOOO was on the emptier facet, a really totally different sight from the lunch crowd at close by cafes.
This doesn’t appear to be deterring the couple, although, who’ve a selected area of interest in thoughts. As a substitute of interesting to the lots, CK shared that AOOO primarily targets an “elite” group who can respect Western meals and people people and households with a better disposable revenue.
“Frankly, we’re at the moment choosing natural development with minimal advertising and marketing. [This is done] by specializing in offering an distinctive eating expertise and constructing a powerful buyer base, by Google evaluations, word-of-mouth, and repeat enterprise,” he stated.
“We belief that though natural development would possibly take longer, it usually leads to a extra loyal clientele that appreciates the standard and uniqueness of AOOO.”
Be taught extra about AOOO Melbourne Cafe right here.
Learn articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Vulcan Submit / AOOO Melbourne Cafe