It was originally due to welcome the public early in 2010, but after a few hold-ups the freshly relocated Ocha has finally, quietly, settled into its new digs in the redeveloped Beehive complex in Hawthorn.

“Opening was going to be February,” says manager Paul Skerrett, but after delays with a change of use permit and liquor licence, the official date was pushed right back. When the well-loved Japanese restaurant did finally commence service in its new location, it was humbly, and with little fanfare, on May 25.

“We’ve finally closed the Packington Street location,” says Skerrett. “We’re just using it for storage, commercial kitchen space and dumpling preparation now.”

It’s a big step up for the popular Japanese restaurant, with the new space providing seating for up to 70 patrons inside, and an additional 25 in the courtyard – a fair increase from the original 35-seater space in Kew. So far the feedback from patrons has been positive, with the new, larger space maintaining the intimacy of the original Ocha through the use of dividing curtains and acoustic additions to manage noise.

The menu remains true to Ocha’s modern Japanese cuisine, but the addition of a grill promises yakitori on the menu in the near future, so keep an eye out.

Despite the larger space, reservations are still essential with weekends booked out up to 12 weeks in advance. We’ll see you there, as soon as we can snag a table.

3 Church Street, Hawthorn - Beehive Complex.
Tue–Fri 12pm–2.30pm, 6pm–10.30pm or (03) 9853 6002.