Light Years Cafe

At Light Years Cafe, the futuristic space is matched by an imaginative menu where familiar brunch ingredients are given a smart update and everything looks sharp and tastes divine.

Light Years Cafe

Location: 132 Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn East, VIC 3123 Ph: (03) 9882 0181

When it initially opened a while back, Light Years Cafe caused a bit of a stir in traditionally reserved Hawthorn.

Why? Well, firstly there is the sleek, concrete-heavy space age decor, complete with halo-shaped lights. Secondly, it served ‘pixel’ avocado on toast rather than the ubiquitous ‘smashed’. What one earth is pixel avo, I hear you cry? Simply put, it’s avocado that is cut into tiny squares to look like a pixellated avocado emoji. It’s both visually different and very photogenic – meaning that for a while this cafe was on every food bloggers hit-list for that all important photo.

For more of the Best Cafes in Camberwell (and nearby), see here.

Light Years Cafe - Exterior

But thankfully, this eatery isn’t just about cool design and insta-worthy gimmicks. Since opening, the food has remained consistently good, relying on great produce and clever cooking to bring something a little special to each plateful.

The Space

Given that Light Years Cafe is actually quite cavernous once you step inside, it can be surprisingly hard to spot from the road.

There are no tables outside on the pavement to indicate that there’s a brunch spot lurching behind the large glass windows. Similarly, the venue has nothing to distinguish it from the other businesses neighbouring it, bar a couple of neon signs.

However, once you pass through the door, there’s no mistake that you’re in a hip cafe.

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Light Years Cafe - counter

Concrete flooring leads to a marble counter, topped with a service area and display cabinets of sweet treats. Plus the regulation Melbourne coffee machine.

The dining room itself is to the right of this work space. With high ceilings, and nooks and crannies created from mini partitions and smart seating arrangements, this is industrial chic on a striking scale. But despite all the stone and metals surfaces, it’s not cold. Instead, strategically placed plants and the abundance of natural light coming in through the numerous windows makes it warm and welcoming.

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Light Years Cafe - Interior Tables

The Food

Light Years Cafe has an All Day Menu that transitions easily from breakfast to lunch and suits lazy weekend dining. It’s also worth mentioning that Simon Ward (previously of Hammer & Tong’s in Fitzroy) overseas the kitchen – so you know you’re in knowledgeable hands.

I almost succumb to the allure of the Belgian Waffle ($21). At Light Years, it comes with Blueberry Compote, Fresh Fruits, Vanilla Ice Cream & Maple Syrup. Should you like a savoury twist, you can add either straight Bacon ($6) or the Signature Candied Bacon ($8). I’m seriously tempted, but ultimately decide that my sweet tooth isn’t up to it.

Instead, I decide to give the Chilli Scrambled Eggs ($23) a try. After all, it seems like every eatery in the country is currently doing a version of them, so I might as well compare the ones here.

Click here for our guide to the Best Breakfasts in Melbourne.

Light Years Cafe - Chilli Scrambled Eggs

Bright curds of egg recline on multigrain toast. They are accompanied by a gentle Coriander Aioli, dots of Roasted Salsa Roja and a diced pile of Smoked Beetroot. As it’s almost noon, I supplement it with a side of Bacon ($6) from the Extras part of the menu. It’s a great choice, with the sauces working well with the earthy Beetroot and soft Eggs.

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One of my companions is leaning towards the Chorizo Baked Egg ($24). This is a plateful of Braised Pearl Cous Cous, Green Olive Ragu, Persian Feta, Chives, Spinach & Chimichurri on Multigrain Toast. I’ve eaten it on a previous visit and loved the balance of textures and flavours.

However, in the end, the Candied Bacon Toast ($25) wins out.

Light Years Cafe - Candied Bacon from Side

Featuring the kitchen’s Signature Honey Candied Bacon, Smashed (not Pixel) Avocado, a Poached Egg, House Hummus, Pickled Red Onion & Dukkah on Multigrain Toast, it’s a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.

The Drinks

Light Years Cafe uses coffee beans by Dukes And Organic Artisan Tea.

As well as this, they stock a range of cold drinks, including Liberty Kombucha, Hepburn Organic, Milkshakes and Smoothies. We are big fans of the Very Berry Smoothie ($11) which combines Mixed Berry, Protein Powder, Honey & Coconut into a thirst quenching glass of goodness.


Although the excitement about craftily sliced Avocado and stark interior design may have abated, Light Years Cafe still has lots going for it. Not least, the interesting menu of dishes that please both the eyes and the palate.

Next time you find yourself at the top end of Camberwell Road, look out for the subtle signage and pop in. We reckon you’ll be glad you did.

Faye Keenan
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