There's a lot to be said for buying meat properly. No, I don't mean in neat rows of tightly wrapped plastic containers in the supermarket, but from people who actually know where your meat comes from and how it's gotten from the paddock to your plate. A great butcher is someone you want to have a relationship with. Not only will you get great quality, but when it comes to needing something less common, or cut a certain way, you need look no further.
Here's the reality: You may fantisise about restaurants having direct and passionate relationships with producers, going direct to the farm gate for your beef (if advertisements by KFC and a certain 'celebrity' (who?) chef has anything to say about it), but the truth is that no chef or restaurateur has that kind of time.
If you want to shop like a pro (for real), here are three suppliers you need to know about:
Feather & Bone
If you want to know where your meat comes from, the guys from Feather and Bone are the guys to know. Started by Grant Hilliard in 2006, the company have strong relationships with their producers and make a point of knowing everything there is to know about the meat they sell. Supplying restaurants like Rockpool, Red Lantern and Sean's Panaroma, whether it's a whole goat or a shoulder of lamb, pork belly or just a really good chook, these guys can tell you exactly how the animal has lived and been processed to get to you. Based in Rozelle, there are regular open days and delivery to most Sydney areas, you'd be hard pressed to find a more passionate bunch.
2-8 Parsons Street
Rozelle, Sydney NSW 2039
Tel: 02 9818 2717
Fax: 02 9818 3506
Urban Food Market
Tim Elwin is a social media mogul. The transition from mobile marketing guru to sustainable meat supplier to some of Sydney's best restaurants hasn't been an easy one, but the proof, as they say, is in the eating. Urban Food Market sources sustainable, mostly organic meat from small suppliers around Australia, and each Saturday, the warehouse becomes a humming bazaar, using global flavours to showcase the possibilities of the brilliant produce he sources. Not only can you find Thirlmere chickens, Esk River pork and dry aged, organic grass fed beef, but all the condiments, fruit and vegetable produce you need to get the job done once you're at home. A home cook's dream.
1/168 Victoria Road
Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9516 0601
Starting in 2006 with a store in Paddington, the Puharich family know a thing or two about meat. With their sparkling jewel of a store on Woollahra's Queen Street and a restaurant supply business that sees them visit most of Sydney's top restaurants, the real secret for consumers is their once monthly Meat Market open days at their head warehouse in Mascot, where you can try as well as buy prime cuts and delicious bits for the barbeque.
Find out more at their website. The next is on November 12.
10 Merchant St