The Darby St eatery celebrates their first birthday
Photography courtesy of Dave Wheeler & Megann Evans
Towards the end of 2021, we celebrated the arrival of Darby Street’s newest Asian-inspired eatery, Light Years Asian Diner. Over the past 12 months, keen diners have visited in droves – experiencing their uniquely designed interiors, tasting their tantalising flavours, and devouring their cocktail menu.
Come December 2022, we thought it time to chat to the owners, Creative Director Kim Stephen, Managing Director James Sutherland, and Executive Chef Robbie Oijvall, to hear all about how their Newcastle venue has been and what the next 12 months and beyond have in store for this iconic spot.
It’s been just over 12 months since you opened here in Newcastle - overall, how has it been?
It has been so wonderful to be embraced by the local community - we really wanted to bring a fun and vibrant venue for friends and family to eat great food and drinks, and we feel that we’ve really achieved that.
What has been the overarching feedback from customers visiting the Newcastle venue?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback – Light Years has quickly become a local go-to for a great time with friends. A perfect addition to the Newcastle dining scene, and there has been a lot of interest from not only the locals but people visiting Newcastle or simply driving through.
Has there been a standout favourite dish and/or drink at this venue? If so, what is it?
Our signature dishes always seem to be the crowd favourites. The kingfish ceviche with coconut, chilli, and kaffir lime; and the pork belly bao buns with chilli caramel; and miso corn ribs.
In terms of drinks, our cocktails are all favourites because they are bold and play on Asian flavours with a twist. They pair well alongside the food, but the Lola Paloma has always been a winner - Tequila, Campari, chilli, watermelon, lime, and grapefruit – a real winning combination.
You’ve had a busy year as a business opening new venues, renovating, and all the jazz that comes with working in hospitality. What have been the highlights of the year?
The highlight of this year has definitely been opening multiple venues and seeing those plans and dreams finally come to life. Byron has been a big focus – we’ve opened Moonlight, a Japanese hibachi grill and wine bar which is perfect for a drink and snack or moody date night; the second iteration of Light Years in Byron Bay with an expanded menu and mature interiors to match, designed by Sarah Ellison and Studio Plenty; and our take on Coastal Italian Pixie Food + Wine.
Do you have any big future plans for not only the Newcastle venue but any other big projects we should know about moving in 2023?
I think we are really comfortable with our four Light Years now and that will be our main focus for the new year.
If you’ve yet to experience the foodie extravaganza that is on offer at Light Years Asian Diner, the only thing I have to say is WHY?
To make it even easier to get in to taste and experience all that is Light Years Asian Diner, the Darby St joint will be opening for lunch on Fridays for the last three weeks of December. Get your table booked now!
Sit down and discover awesome modern Asian food, delicious cocktails, and a jump-out-of-your-seat party vibe at your next visit to Light Years Asian Diner.