March 2024 update: Lumen People is now open in the evenings, Wednesday to Saturday. Come for wine-bar style plates, natural wines and Victorian vermouths until 10pm.


A lumen is a unit for measuring light, and for Emma Sheahan and Marichi Clarke, it’s the name of their light and bright North Melbourne cafe inspired by all the parts of hospitality they love. The partners in life and business have impressive CVs. Between them they've worked at Seven Seeds, Wide Open Road, St Ali and Paramount Coffee Project (in Sydney and Los Angeles).

At Lumen, Clarke has returned to his chef roots with a simple menu. You might have a Söt by Mörk caramel bundt cake or Swedish cinnamon bun with your Seven Seeds coffee or key-lime-pie shake. If you’re after something savoury, go for the baguette served with Pepe Saya butter, Pepus tinned octopus in squid ink and guindilla peppers; or a hot-pressed sando with smoked caciotta (a soft, fresh Italian cheese), cheddar and quince.

On weekends, the menu expands with additions like the breakfast milk bun, which comes stuffed with pillowy omelette, cheddar and chives and – if you ask for it – sobrasada (a spreadable, cured salami). On selected evenings, the team turn their place into a wine bar, and pour from a considered list of naturals, vermouths and cocktails. Dishes could be oeuf mayonnaise; Goolwa Pipis with braised farro and lemon; and Tipo 00 casarecce with creme fraiche and bottarga.

Susu Studio worked on the aesthetic, with Sheahan and Clarke doing the bulk of the fit-out themselves. White walls, light American oak tabletops and banquettes are offset by bright, abstract prints hanging along one wall featuring the Lumen colour palette. While handmade art deco-style milk white globes from Gregory’s Antiques and Lights are suspended above the tables.

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Updated: April 3rd, 2024

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