An authentic taste of Japan as Hokkaiya brings traditional Japanese cuisine to Newcastle
Tucked away in the vibrancy and hubbub of Hamilton’s ever-bustling Beaumont Street, sits the one-stop-shop for the city’s most authentic ramen—Hokkaiya!
With only a handful of tables inside and some modest outdoor seating, the space feels understated and intimate. A small display cabinet showcases freshly made, hand-rolled sushi and in the corner, brightly-coloured Japanese soft drink cans line fridge shelves. On the back wall are old Japanese posters, faded by the sun.
Against this backdrop, Cassie and her partner Evan work tirelessly to serve up the generously portioned, colourful bowls of steaming hot, traditional lunches that their Beaumont Street neighbours have all come to know and love.
After years spent as an architect and accountant, the duo decided to diversify their career paths, opening Hokkaiya in 2018, in partnership with a close friend, adding to the already blossoming Japanese dining scene in Newcastle.
“He’s taught us everything,” Cassie tells me.
Cassie says cooking has always been a favourite pastime, but it was their business partner who instilled in them a keenness for creating their menu and recipes using only the most traditional methods and techniques.
“It is hard to find authentic ramen in Newcastle!”
It’s this ambition to share their authentic culinary culture that drives the pair and sets Hokkaiya Japanese Restaurant apart. Where others make their ramen hastily, Cassie and Evan bring slower methods to the most popular dish on their menu.
To make the broth, pork is slow-cooked for over six hours, ensuring a delicious richness, before individual bowls are loaded with pork belly, mushrooms, corn, and traditional nitamago eggs, which are boiled, and left to marinate overnight in a special sauce.
There’s something for everyone at Hokkaiya, with other standouts on their menu including the Gyu Don—renowned for tasting the same as it does in Japan—and a Tempura Veggie Bowl for all the vegetarians and vegans.
Like many businesses, the pair have faced significant challenges in recent years and were forced to temporarily close at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this has only strengthened their drive and the lengths they will go to, to source the highest quality ingredients available.
“We like to use good ingredients, to make good food.”
On Saturdays, Cassie will often travel to Sydney, attending markets where she can get her hands on a wider range of authentic products. Though it comes at an increase in their personal costs, the pair will not compromise on quality, using only the best seaweeds, rice, salmon, and other goods.
In Hokkaido, where Cassie and Evan’s business partner and muse is originally from, Hokkaiya means ‘house’—an apt name for the friendly, welcoming atmosphere so entrenched in their quaint, relaxing space.
Through their reasonably-priced, homely, hearty menu, Hokkaiya has established a community in their locale, bringing a genuine taste of Japan to those who’ve never been there, and embedding in those who have, a sense of nostalgia for the culture’s unique cuisine, and emphasis on hospitality.
Open for lunch from Monday-Friday and Friday evenings, with options for takeaway and dine-in, a trip to Hokkaiya Japanese Restaurant on Beaumont Street is sure to make you feel right at home.