A boutique blade with your bao? Sign us up.
After one too many Martinis at the hotel bar, a knife shop is probably the last place you'd expect to stumble upon. But on the ground floor of QT Melbourne, next to the hotel's Korean- Japanese bar Hot Sauce, you'll find Tanto, a boutique specialising in expertly forged Japanese Suisin knives. They're sourced directly from Sakai city in Osaka Prefecture, where they've been crafted since the 14th century, and where knifemaker Junro Aoki has been making them since 1990. His son Tatsuya has helped bring the knives to Tanto, the first and only store in Australia to sell them. Staff can also sharpen and service your existing blades using traditional Japanese equipment, help you decide on a Suisin or work with you on a custom design.
What kind of knives does Tanto stock, Tatsuya-san?
There are many - from yanagibas or slicers, to deba filleting knives, the all-round santoku and gyuto knives, sabaki and yodeba for filleting and boning, and many more.
Where do you find the materials for your knives?
We source stainless steel from Sweden, and our carbon steel is Yasuki Hagane from Hitachi, who made some of the first Japanese swords.
What makes a good chef's knife, for your money?
Sharpness, retention, ease of maintenance and the balance. Knives in the Hayate series [one of the higher-end lines at Tanto] take at least three months to make.
What's the best way to care for a Suisin knife?
Always keep it dry. For home use, you should sharpen your knives every week or, if you're a commercial chef, daily. Every three to six months it's also worth booking in for a professional sharpening and reshaping service.
Tanto, knives from $65, QT Melbourne, 6 Portland La, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 8636 8836, tanto.com.au.