Newcastle Living Magazine
Âpé Yakitori Bar
Combining traditional cooking techniques with smooth cocktails at Âpé Yakitori.
Situated just on the water inside Newcastle’s Broadwalk, Âpé Yakitori is a restaurant and bar channeling traditional Japanese techniques in an architecturally designed space. As a venture from the team behind Nagisa and Susuru, Newcastle Living had the pleasure of chatting with owner, Taiyo Namba to discuss the restaurant’s influence, bringing quality drinks to the area, as well as some of the best items to order on the menu.
Breakdown exactly what yakitori style is for us?
In essence, it’s all about breaking down an animal or protein, cutting it into pieces, and celebrating each piece for what it means whether that is the flavor, the texture, or really just the whole piece itself!
What is the benefit of yakitori style cooking?
You get to pick and enjoy different textures and flavors. To put it simply, it can all be the same meat but it’s different cuts so you taste and cook them in different ways. This way you get the full experience of different aspects of the animal.
What led to the decision to open a yakitori style of restaurant?
To be honest, we really just wanted to work with local produce. We wanted to showcase the Hunter Valley! We’ve got a lot of good farmers out there that do great work. Our local farms are small because they’re not battery operated, and it’s just the farmers providing love and care to their produce – it’s not mass produced.
What’s the meaning behind the name Âpé?
Âpé means flame in Indigenous Japanese. It all starts from back in the day where they would have a fire in the middle of the house and it would always be lit. They called it ‘ah-pay’ and they thought it was the god that oversees you and protects you from the cold. So at Âpé we have an open kitchen in the center of the restaurant where everyone can see our chefs cooking over charcoal. Having the kitchen in the middle adds a whole other element, you can watch your raw produce getting cooked, there is no hiding behind that. It’s very honest cooking.
Alongside the yakitori you also focus on being a cocktail bar. What sorts of cocktails do you offer?
We do a lot of ‘stiff’ cocktails. As an owner, I like a good cocktail. I love good negroni or old fashioned. I just like cocktails done well and Newcastle could do with a few more places where you can sit down and enjoy a really good cocktail. We focus on doing the classics really well and experimenting with new flavors. Nothing watery and all alcohol tasting either. There’s a fine balance and it’s a skill we have perfected.
Who did the fit-out and how would you describe the look and feel?
The fit-out was done by Ben Bewrick from Prevalent Architects down in Sydney who’s actually a Newcastle guy and I worked with him in an architecture firm a long time ago but he’s also a good mate of mine. Everything is very environmentally friendly, the leather seats are recycled pineapple leaves and we’ve used mushrooms for sound proofing on the walls. The menus are leather and made from the same materials. There has been a lot of thought that’s gone into it.
If someone was new to your restaurant is there something you think they should definitely try?
I would start off with the snap peas. We get them from good growers in Lorne and the flavors of them on the charcoal is amazing. The vegetables are fantastic, the baby corn is something I would recommend. I would say the chicken breast and chicken thigh is a must, we get them from Little Hill Farm in the Hunter Valley. Then I would jump onto the wagyu. I would also try the rib fingers. Finally, we have a steak we do which is marble score 9 from Binnie Beef. It is amazing.
What do you love about Âpé Yakitori’s location?
I think one of the best things about Âpé’s location is that we’re right by the water. Not only does it provide a beautiful view for our guests while they dine, but it adds to the overall atmosphere and ambiance of the restaurant.
Contact Âpé Yakitori
0456 159 816
The Boardwalk, Shop 3N/1 Honeysuckle Dr,
Newcastle NSW 2300
Tuesday – Wednesday
5:30pm – 11:30pm
Thursday – Saturday
11:30am – 2:30pm | 5:30pm – 11:30pm
11:30am – 2:30pm