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The sharp guide to special knives

Ever tried to slice hard cheese with a butter knife? Hacked at a steak with a standard dinner knife? If you have, you’ll know that having the right knife for each courses and food type is more a necessity than it is a pretentious nice-to-have. Here’s the sharp guide (see what we did there?) to special knives for cutlery hire:

The Steak Knife

Steak knives come in serrated and straight-edged varieties – both are very, very sharp. These knives are designed to easily slice through beef, game and other tough meats. Interestingly, using a steak knife for meat is not only easier and more convenient, but also (according to chefs) helps to retain the structure and flavour of the meat.

The Fish Knife

Fish knives, as their name might suggest, are specially designed for the easy eating of fish. These knives have a curved, sharp edge, to delicately separate the skin from the flesh of the fish. The broad blade is ideal for lifting full flakes of fish meat to the fork, while the sharp tip is designed to lift even the smallest bones away from the flesh.

If you’re of the school of thought that a dinner knife does just as good a job for eating fish, you’re not alone. The concept of separate courses was introduced in the mid-19th century and was thought to be a representation of good social structure. Some believe the fish knife’s curved design is more for distinction than practicality. Fish knives often have fancy embellishments, bone handles and intricate engravings.

Today, standard dinner knives are often used for fish courses, but there’s no denying the prestige of a classic fish knife. Perhaps if we all knew how to use it, we wouldn’t use anything else.

The Butter Knife

Think any knife is as good as the next for buttering your bread? Think again. The butter knife has a smooth, dull edge which allows you to spread the butter without ripping the soft bread. Butter knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some with a pointed or curved end to make it easier to pick up a butter ball from a central butter dish on the table. These knives are also suited to spreading cream cheese and other spreads on bread or a dinner roll.

The Cheese Knife

Once the butter is spread, the cheese is the natural second step. Introducing the cheese knife. This useful little tool has a sharp edge and a two prong tip. Once the cheese is sliced, the tip acts like a fork to pick up the cheese and place it on your plate (or straight onto your slice of bread). It’s a smooth cut, pick up and eat process – no ‘excuse my fingers’ here.

The Dessert Knife

A knife for dessert you ask? But of course. The Dessert Knife is slightly smaller than the dinner knife and can have a rounded or pointed tip – the rounded version is best suited to soft desserts, while a pointed tip helps to cut through hard desserts. This special knife is usually used together with a dessert fork.


Whether it’s sharp, broad, fancy, smooth, or fork-like there’s a place at the table for all these special knives. Next time you’re hosting a multi-course meal, talk to us about your cutlery requirements and we’ll make sure you have the perfect place settings.