Walking into Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar feels like walking into home; the warm welcomes of family, a cosy atmosphere and the smell of a delicious dinner cooking on the stove. Tucked away on Sixth Avenue at St Peters, Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar is a treasure waiting to be found amongst the leafy avenues of the Eastern suburbs.
Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar’s owner and head chef, Koki, decided to open the restaurant after a lot of convincing from his friends and family. Koki has worked in hospitality for over 10 years, and his experience as a chef and his love for cooking have helped him begin a restaurant of his own. His homemade cooking is always a hit, and he finally decided it was time to share it with the world, resulting in Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar!
The interior of the cafe manages to feel both clean and modern while still being cosy and rustic. The walls are lined with dark bamboo and wooden stalls and tables are tucked beside warm-tinted floor lamps and floral arrangements. Decorating the walls are wooden panels with Japanese lettering detailing the menu, hand-made by restaurant manager, Pei.
The menu offers a range of traditional ramen, donburi (rice bowls), udon soups and side dishes such as karaage and takoyaki. All the recipes have been developed by Koki based on the dishes he makes at home, giving them authenticity and humbleness.
The signature dishes of Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar are their ramen, fresh noodles, meats and vegetables served in a slow-cooked 10 hour broth. The Tonkotsu Ramen comes in a slow-cooked pork bone broth with fresh noodles, pork belly chashu, seasoned boiled egg, shredded black fungus, bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and spring onion. It is topped with black garlic oil and has pickled red ginger and pickled mustard green on the side. The Shio Ramen comes in a clear fish and chicken broth with fresh noodles, seasoned chicken, boiled egg, bok choy, spring onion and shredded chilli. The Shoya Ramen is a soy sauce flavoured fish and chicken broth with fresh noodles, pork belly chashu, seasoned boiled egg, seaweed, bamboo shoots, a fish cake and spring onion. The Miso Ramen is a soy bean paste flavoured fish and chicken broth served with fresh noodles, pork belly chashu, seasoned boiled egg, seaweed, a fish cake, corn, bean sprouts, spring onion and butter. All of the ramens are full of rich flavour and fresh ingredients, making them warm, hearty and delicious.
A range of Donburi – rice bowls with rich and flavourful toppings – are available at Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar. There is a Soboro Don (chicken rice bowl), Kakiage Don (tempura vegetable rice bowl), Chashu Don (braised pork belly rice bowl), Gyu Don (beef rice bowl), Karaage Don (fried chicken rice bowl) and Unagi Don (eel rice bowl). We tried the delicious Kakiage Don which had fresh vegetables cooked in a crispy tempura and served on a bed of fluffy rice. It was so delicious we had to put it aside to make sure we could keep enough room to try the other dishes on the menu! Mini Don are also available for people who want a quick snack or as the perfect size meal for kids.
There is a huge range of incredible side dishes on the menu, from yummy karaage chicken to creamy crab croquettes. These dishes are perfect to complement a hearty ramen or pair with a donburi, but it’s hard not to simply order a range of the sides as a meal itself! You can’t go wrong with the Karaage, which was perfectly fried, succulent chicken in a buttermilk coating. The Gyoza are lightly fried and filled with rich pork. The Okonomiyaki is hearty and delicious, a vegetable and prawn savoury pancake with lots of rich and creamy sauces to bring out the flavour. Takoyaki is a fan favourite, small octopus balls served with a delicious, creamy sauce. Crab Creamy Croquette are beautiful and rich crabmeat mixed in with silky and creamy potato. For a seafood fix be sure to order the Crab Claw or Kaki Fry (crumbed oyster). You can also get your all time favourite Japanese side dishes of Vegetable Spring Rolls, Edamame and Miso Soup.
The Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar has perfected traditional Japanese dishes, and provides an authentic experience in their cosy, new restaurant. ‘Hajime’ means ‘first’ or ‘to begin’, and Koki and Pei embrace this name as a way of showing that they will begin providing Adelaide with the best Japanese dishes around!
Now, let’s eat. いただきます!
Words by Elisabeth Marie
WHERE: 2/66 Sixth Ave, St Peters