Fluorescent-lit butcher shops with their cling-wrapped meats adorned with a ubiquitous sprig of curly parsley have undergone a revival of late. Butchers are transforming their trade and embracing their craftsmanship, turning their shops into a celebration of produce.
No longer simply meat markets, these five butchers have created spaces that are as engaging to behold as any patisserie or delicatessen.
1. 1888 Certified, Double Bay, NSW
The families of Charlie Crichton and Tim White have been farmers and graziers for over 100 years. These days the pair run a stunning meat boutique in Sydney. United by their values and 33 years of friendship, they set about dedicating 1888 Certified butchery to traceable meat with no hormones, antibiotics or animal feed.
Their ethos is simple: people care about what they’re eating. Conducting audits on all their suppliers each year, you can be sure any meat bought here is 1888 certified. The meat is sourced from the pair’s own farms, or those of Australian farmers. These guys believe in paddock to plate – and it could be one of the swiftest transitions you’ll get!
Check out the 1888 Certified handy recipes page for tasty dinner ideas!
2. Peter Bouchier, Toorak, Vic
Peter Bouchier butchers, Toorak, Melbourne: “all gold lettering, flat caps, cool aprons and sleek tiles” (photo: Katie Wilton).
If you’re wondering what the Peter Bouchier story is all about, then family has to well and truly be at the forefront.
There are no windows painted with frolicking lambs and pigs as if advertising their deliciousness here (a strange phenomenon, we feel); it’s all gold lettering, flat caps, cool aprons and sleek tiles. The Peter Bouchier store is an icon of the area and well-loved for its beautiful meats. If you’re staying locally and have access to a kitchen, pick up a steak or grab a deli lunchbox and find a park.
You can also find Peter Bouchier’s goods in the David Jones foodhall in the the Melbourne CBD and includes both a meat cutting room and smallgoods facility, where you can pick up Peter’s quality products.
3. Meatsmith, Fitzroy, Vic
Marbled beef and marbled countertop; Meatsmith, Fitzroy (photo: Harvard Wang)
Chef Andrew McConnell and butcher Troy Wheeler have opened a meat and wine emporium where it’s not just the beef that’s marbled but also the counter top. The establishment incorporates an on-site dry ageing and butchery, produce from some of the best suppliers around the country. O’Connor’s beef is one of them; supplying the best grass fed beef in Australia, and pork farmers sustaining rare heritage breeds that are raised with care.
The store also carries an enviable range of cured meats, small goods and pantry items. The advice? Grab take-home meals and ask the Meatsmith sommelier about a wine to match your choice.
4. Cannings Free Range Butchers, Kew, Vic
As the name enunciates, expect 100 per cent free range at Cannings Free Range Butchers, Kew, Melbourne.
This wood-clad space in Melbourne’s inner-east gets big ticks for its eco values and strong ethics. Their produce is 100 per cent free-range and farmed using natural methods only. In fact, they meet all producers on their farms before agreeing to carry their product in store.
Here you’ll find saltbush-grazed dorper lamb from SA and fresh seafood from the south and east coasts. Also, Cannings uses renewable power from Hydro Tasmania, Australia’s largest generator of clean energy. They also give back to the animal kingdom, by way of donations to places such as Animals Australia, Humane Society and the RSPCA.
A great place for all your dinner needs, and we hear they do a mean skewer and burger pattie, too.
5. Victor Churchill, Woollahra, NSW
Is Victor Churchill butcher shop’s display fine art or mere produce? (Woollahra, Sydney)
Perhaps the first butcher shop to display its wares as fine art rather than mere produce, the Churchill family, and then Victor Puharich and his son, Anthony, have created a veritable meat gallery in Sydney’s upmarket Woollahra.
Victor Churchill was even described by Anthony Bourdain as the ‘most beautiful butcher shop in the world’, it’s worth visiting to simply ogle the window display – but as you’ll find, there’s so much more to this place than just window shopping. One half of the brand dynasty, Victor Puharich is actually responsible for Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, which you may have heard of, you know – if you’ve ever eaten meat before.
One thing’s for sure, even before you taste the meat, you’ll understand that this is no ordinary butcher shop. No way.