First published on 16 Feb 2012. Updated on 13 Dec 2012.
Skinner and Hackett
Yes, the name is a joke. This is a house of fine meats conceived of by cheeky geezer and owner of Gerald's Bar, Gerald Diffey, and wine merchant Jonathan Stobbs, and they value a joke as much as they do a good bacon bap and side of beef. You'll find both here along with many of the finer brands and cuts of meat that previously have only been available to restaurant owners. No butchering takes place on premises – they act as purveyors only – but you are able to sit in and snack on a good pork pie or one of those baps while they slice your small goods to order. Hit 'em up for a haunch of rare breed beef, or even a goose - if they don't stock it, they can usually still track it down. The ham is incredible too. 400 Rathdowne St, Carlton North.
Peter G Bouchier
‘Cheap’ and ‘meat’ are two words that should never appear in the same sentence. So while the dry-aged beef at this rather fine butchery may be a little on the pricey side, you get what you pay for. Peter Bouchier been slicing and dicing since 1976 and his eye for quality is evident in every perfectly polished bone of a Frenched lamb rack and in each thickly marbled haunch of wagyu beef. This is show-off-to-your-friends meat, and if you can’t make it out to the flagship Toorak store, they have an outlet at the David Jones Food Hall. Of course. 551 Malvern Rd, Toorak.
Donati’s Fine Meats
The classical music drifting through the air at Donati’s isn’t for you. It’s for relaxing the hams. Leo Donati’s Carlton store looks like an art gallery for meat – there’s an abstract oil painting of a pig’s head, a library of books on Carlton, old-school butcher’s blocks and polished marble benches. Want to have a crack at using ox tongue, or making veal saltimbocca? Donati will talk you through it, do all the prep and probably give you his recipe for good measure. 402 Lygon St, Carlton.
Barbecue emergency? You need the expertise of Team Sausage. BouDan (Daniel Thaine) Hurricane Thaine (Victoria Thaine) and the Grillmaster (Neil Morrison) create an extensive range of bread-filler-and-preservative-free sausages which are stacked instead with free-range meats like chicken, mildly spiced and dotted with sweet dates and preserved lemon, or duck meat, melded with beetroot and spiked with Sichuan pepper. Head to the Caulfield farmers markets where they also cook the snags on site for market browsing fuel.
For DIY experi-meat-ation the fabulous Wangara Poultry and Game Store stocks a veritable alphabet soup of the world’s tastiest fauna, and then some. If you wanted to take a French snail, pop it in a squab pigeon and encase the lot in camel then you could (but you shouldn’t). The team are like assassins for caterers – albeit ones that insist on their targets being local and killed humanely. They’ll even deliver the goods to your door. Unit 1/321 Arden St, Kensington.