Terrigal’s Caribbean inspired hot spot

Mumbo Jumbos
Mumbo Jumbos

It was a shared love of music that would see four Central Coast locals take a punt and open Mumbo Jumbo’s, a Caribbean-inspired bar complete with sweeping views of Terrigal Beach, fine rum, island fare and reggae aplenty. 

Steve Sewell, Justin Hyland, Issac Adele and Heather Bergen (aka the dream team) were all born and bred on the Coast, but lived elsewhere and met through the music industry before returning to the region’s sun-kissed shores.

They’re also successful business owners in their own right. Steve’s hospitality entertainment agency Kingdom Sounds, for one, represents at least 15 leading venues around the country, including Sydney’s Home and Hotel Brunswick just out of Byron. Running their own food and beverage venue, however, has been a new experience for all.

“We’d always talked about doing something together, but never acted on it,” recounts Justin. “When we heard along the grapevine that this space was coming up for lease, we just couldn’t ignore it.”

Growing up on the Coast, the foursome knew the building in question – and instantly saw its huge, untapped potential. Set on the corner of the main drag, the upstairs venue takes in a picture-perfect beach vista to one side and downtown Terrigal to the other. After a three-month reno, the sprawling space now combines indoor, outdoor, intimate and open-place areas set across one-and-a-half levels.

“The space was the inspiration,” says Steve of the cool, Caribbean beach-shack aesthetic that seamlessly ties all the nooks together. “It actually used to be a house, so we really wanted to go with a worn and recycled feel.” The look isn’t for show either. Wherever possible, recycled materials have been used, including tables made from old timber fencing. “The original owner of the house has come in a few times with her grandkids, which is pretty cool!”

For the food, the team flew in Issac’s brother from China, a chef and former Gordon Ramsay protégé, who set up the kitchen and wrote the casual, pan-Caribbean menu.

With their diverse talents, the team took a divide-and-conquer approach to set up with Justin overseeing the visual identity, Steve on entertainment and music, Issac managing the books and Heather over day-to-day management. And all this simultaneously running their other businesses.  

“Staffing in general has been great on the Central Coast,” says Issac. “Having been on the Coast our whole lives, we know a lot of people, so we tapped friends of friends and everyone else just gravitated to us. It happened pretty organically, actually.”

With a good team in place, the owners have stepped back from the details and are now focussing on developing the brand, looking to and for the community for in-house events. To date, Mumbo Jumbo’s has hosted art shows, live music, market stalls and tasting events with local producers including Onyx Coffee Spirits, Six String Brewery Co and From Sunday wines. And the reaction? “So far, it’s been great,” says Justin. “We feel like we have a lot of support from the community.”

For four Coasties who describe themselves as just “hitting and hoping,” they’re doing one heck of a job.

For more information about Mumbo Jumbos.