Shopping locally for fresh meat means you get to know more about the food you’re eating and where it’s come from. These neighbourhood butchers operate on a paddock to plate basis and they can offer advice on how to cook and prepare their produce, too. The best thing? They don’t charge you extra for using plastic to pay for your purchases.
If you have a conscience about the meat you eat, Feather and Bone speaks your language. They’re ethically minded regarding animal welfare (and know each of their local suppliers personally) and they practice whole-animal sort of butchery to be as sustainable as possible, right down to soil and genetic variety in the animals it buys and butchers. Order online for delivery or pick-up, or stop in to eye-up your meat first and check out the other local, ethical produce they stock (Country Valley milk and yoghurt, Katie Swift cordials, Pepe Saya butter and ghee and more). You can also hire a spit if you’re ambitious with your grilling goals.
This might be the poshest butcher in Sydney, in the whole of Australia and quite possibly the world (without a hint of hyperbole in sight). Its current incarnation (there has been a butcher on the same site since 1876) is thanks to Victor and Anthony Puharich of Vic’s Premium Quality Meats. In 2009 they created this retail ode to the animal in all its gloriously edible forms. Three luxuriously large butcher blocks behind a curtain of glass set the stage for carcass-carving theatre. A display case almost groans under the weight of the cuts within while pates, terrines and sausages are displayed like pastries in the finest French patisseries. Gleaming metal accents complement the marble, stone and glass everywhere. And you’ll marvel at the wall made entirely of Himalayan sea-salt bricks. All of their meat is Australian in origin, including whatever is scenting the air on the Labesse Giraudon rotisserie that day.
The only fully kosher butcher in Sydney is found in Bondi. On first sight, it might appear to be a Spartan operation but it has offered a full menu that have been both slaughtered and prepared according to strict Jewish dietary laws for decades. It draws customers from all over New South Wales and is a household name within the Sydney Jewish community. If you can’t make it to Bondi, Hadassa Kosher Butchery delivers to nearby suburbs and they sell some cooked products too, if you need something in a pinch.
Sam the Butcher supplies the Bondi bubble with its organic (bio-dynamic and grass-fed) meat fix. A blue-painted brick wall makes it stand out from the retail crowd on Bondi Road and broadcasts that Sam’s is also where locals go to get their hands on more exotic meats, like wild boar, emu, crocodile, goose, camel and kangaroo. Current owner and fourth-generation butcher Sam Diasinos took over in 1999 (there’s been a butcher on the site for approximately 70 years) and has been encasing gluten-free Merguez sausages and the like ever since
The Northern Beaches deserve a good butcher, and they recently got it with the newly opened Fairlight Butcher. This small, white-tiled shop offers everything a good butcher should – things like house-cured biltong and dry-aged ribeye steaks – and pays particular attention to provenance and quality, like the rest on this list. Lamb shanks come from Cowra, ‘open-range’ eggs are courtesy of Papanui and, naturally, they too love a little Tassie beef. They’re also community minded, distributing fruit and veg boxes directly from the local growers’ market (orders need to be placed by Wednesday). The shelf of condiments also means you’ll leave with whatever sauces you think you’ll need later. It’s only weeks old but already feels like a neighbourhood establishment.
This place has been the Potts Point go-to for fresh meat since its opening in 2012. In early 2016 it changed hands to new owners who hail from Mudgee and have brought plenty of artisanal products and producers from Mudgee with them. Their beef, however, is Tasmanian (and explicitly hormone and antibiotic free as is their lamb, pork and chicken) and haunches of it often hang from meat hooks in the cooler, ready to be cut to order. Wine and cheese events and butchering classes bring together the Potts Point foodies after closing hours.
Like many of the top butchers in town, they’re all about ‘paddock to plate’, working with suppliers and farmers to bring you everything from Tasmania’s Cape Grim grass-fed beef to Byron Bay’s Black Berkshire pork. It’s a high-end yet accessible shop with knowledgeable staff. Shelves and tables showcase grocery items that go well with your meat buys (things like fresh lemons, mustards and small-batch barbecue sauces) and polished concrete floors give the space an industrial-chic edge. Grass-fed beef is always in stock and sits alongside things like local lamb chops, finely ground house-made Toulouse sausages and ready-to-cook things like prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts, which make the perfect mid-week dinner. Game like quail, duck and venison and offal like Haggis are available if you give them a few days of notice. If you’re tight on time, shop online and opt for home delivery.