Lights in the Attic cafe—a blink-and-you’ll-barrel-past-it ground floor dwelling in the bend of Camberwell Road—throws monumental shade on its local cafe contemporaries.
The Hawthorn East cafe boasts internationally trained cooks, a reinvention of your mainstream breakfast menu, and an expansive, floodlit space to while away your morning.
Although situated at the base of another apartment development, Lights In The Attic is independently run by Executive Manager, Kevin Lee, who is passionate about keeping it anything but commercial and cookie cutter.
Upon entering the low-ceilinged shell over a year ago, Lee—who recently sold 3Lives in Cremorne and opened Green Eggs and Ham in St Kilda—recalls its instant attic-like energy. “And an attic is dark, so that is why we wanted to light it up,” he explains.
In mid 2015, this gloom is almost unimaginable as a multitude of designer light fittings create a luminous, fresh and organically flowing space filled with natural textiles to appeal to the diverse customers in the area, including young families, passers-by, business professionals, and residents.
Don’t expect to rub shoulders with any of them though, as the large apartment footprint allows for three street-level eateries. The front courtyard offers a discreet entrance into the wide main entrance area, there is also a side-entry designed to successfully erase pram rage for foot traffic, and the rear exit offering access for upstairs residents.
Aside from the unique space, another notable mention of Lights in the Attic is the delicious fare. Head Chef Oggie Choi (formerly of Koko at Crown) delights with a mixture of traditional breakfast options, combined with a Korean bent.
The menu is seasonal and creative—heavy with your bespoke coffee variations and cold pressed juices—but the team in the kitchen brings a mixture of ethnicities and influences to the regular eggs and all, via their homemade sauces unique to Lights In The Attic.
Perusing the menu itself is a wondrous experience as the options attest. Would my inner glut go with the Scotch eggs with potato chips nest and kransky chili beans? Or would I have to stay instagram-friendly with a Quinoa Porridge or fresh ricotta and ham croissant? Maybe a happy medium could be struck with a cold pressed juice and Vegie Brekkie (eggs, tomato, mushroom and fetavocado)?
On this visit my ‘nice’ and ‘naughty’ came in the guise of the Teriyaki Tofu salad and a premium organic hot chocolate. Perfection
Look out for Lee’s newest venture, Nine and Three Quarters in Prahran, which is also sure to shed new light on Melbourne cafe culture with aromatic coffees, inspiring spaces and more special sauce!
Lights In The Attic: 38 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn
Mon. - Fri. 7:30am - 4 pm
Sat. - Sun. - 8 am - 4pm
Image credit: Rebecca Newman for The Urban List