Where do you go to buy Sake in Sydney? Dan Murphy’s? The Oak Barrel? At each you might find 30 different bottles, maybe 50 if you’re lucky. How about 100? That’s the minimum Chef’s Armoury is aiming for. Next month the specialised knife and kitchenware retailer will open an extension to their store called Sakeshop, a cellar and workshop space dedicated to Japanese rice-based spirits.
The idea was born when Leigh and Stephane Hudson, Chef’s Armoury’s owners, were in Japan buying knives for the original store in Melbourne. “Whenever you do business in Japan there's always exposure to sake. That's what you do, you sit down and drink while you talk business,” says Leigh.
They’ve been importing sake to Melbourne ever since, but their new store will take it to another level.
“We’ll have 100 bottles here initially, but we hope to really flesh that out in coming years,” says Leigh.
“I don't want to fill a shelf just to fill a shelf, though.” So rather than having a mix of every kind of style and region in Japan, he says it will be more suited to the couple’s taste, and the Australian palette more broadly. “I hate nigori, the cloudy sake, so we probably won’t stock that. It will be diverse, though, from dry and lean to some quite rich flavours and aged sake with sherry flavours, which is quite rare.”
Sakeshop will host workshops to teach people about different sakes, how they’re made and how to find what you like. “There's a level-one class which is a single day. You basically learn how to enjoy sake, how it's made, what different styles are and how to read some of the characters on the bottle. Then there’s a level-three course aimed for sommeliers and industry professionals. It’s three days and very in-depth,” says Leigh.
Sakeshop is slated to open on the July 8 at 105–107 Percival Road, Stanmore.