06 Aug Light Years, Hawthorn East
The owners of Journeyman have travelled north to Hawthorn East, setting up Light Years on Camberwell Road. Light Years is only a few weeks old, and trade is booming on an early Sunday morning despite the terrible weather, probably thanks to a shout-out on Broadsheet.
It’s a few minutes away from Camberwell junction, which also means traffic is better and it’s easier to find a carpark. Tables are close together, but the space is separated into sections, creating a sense of cosiness and some spots of privacy. Sound seems to bounce around the room quite a bit, but we manage to get a nice quiet little spot behind a divider.
It was a bit of a shock when Hammer & Tong closed, but we can now enjoy Simon Ward’s food once again after he signed up as executive chef at both Light Years and Journeyman. The menu reads like a dream, and it’s difficult to choose what to order. There’s a definite Asian spin to the menu, with flavours like miso, black bean, and five spice getting a mention.
Ox Cheek Black Bean Eggs Benedict comes with pickled kohlrabi and dehydrated peas on the side. The chunky ox cheek melts in the mouth, and its black bean flavour is surprisingly subtle and not overpowering at all. Pickled kohlrabi provides a refreshing interlude, and the dehydrated peas give a bit of extra crunch and texture. It’s delicious. Even the thick slice of buttered sourdough tastes good.
The Winter Bowl has Jerusalem artichokes, baby dutch potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin, cauliflower puree, onion soubise, mushroom and chestnut soil, kale, sorrel and Comte cheese. It’s quite a hearty bowl of starchy vegetables and its earthiness is complemented by the addition of shaved Australian truffle.
The sides shouldn’t be forgotten. Quinoa and broccoli balls with unagi mayo are a standout. Although the texture is obviously a bit different on the inside, the flavours are almost like takoyaki, particularly with the kewpie and bonito flakes. Squared off crispy-crumbed five-spice duck croquettes are a tad dry, but there’s good flavour in there, as well as plenty of that tasty sauce to go around.
Now it’s waffle time, and this Matcha Waffle specimen has a nice green colour throughout. It has a slightly crisp outer, and though a tad dry in parts, is mostly fine. With the slight bitterness of matcha within the waffle batter and in the soil, it’s not too sweet, and the main sweet element is the dark chocolate sauce. Popping candy plays on the tongue for excitement. Hollow chocolate balls filled with a lemon cheesecake liquid explode in the mouth. It’s a well balanced dessert.
Simon Ward hasn’t seemed to miss a step between Hammer & Tong and Light Years. The food is delicious. There are so many enticing things on the menu that a re-revisit is definitely on the cards, particularly for some of that Kentucky Fried Halloumi.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Light Years as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
132 Camberwell Rd
Hawthorn East, VIC, 3123
(03) 9882 0181