The fresh ingredients, unique menus and stand-out flavours in San Francisco’s restaurants tempt Neil Perry back again and again. A view...Read more
Victor Churchill, Woollahra
Before we begin this post, it’s fair to say that there might not be much in this one for the vegetarians out there.. Victor Churchill is an more than a butcher, it’s a temple dedicated to meat. It’s no exaggeration to claim that Victor Churchill is probably the best butcher in Sydney, and I’ll put all my money on it being the best in the country. From the moment you walk through the door, you’re in a meat lover’s paradise…
Despite a few ownership changes, 132 Queen St Woollahra has operated as a butcher shop continuously since 1876, when it was opened by butcher James Churchill under the name “Churchill’s”. In 2008 it was bought by Victor and Anthony Puharich, owners of meat wholesalers Vic’s Premium Quality Meats. The name was changed to Victor Churchill, to pay respect to the original owners, the Churchill family, and also to Victor Puharich – the founder of Vic’s Meats. Vic’s have been supplying the Rockpool Group for years, simply for the fact that they’re the best.
Everything about the place screams luxury. From the marble floor and timber walls, to the glass-walled butchery where you can watch the butchers at work, to the aging meat slowly travelling along a conveyor in the glass-walled meat aging room complete with its Himalayan salt-brick wall.
The real allure – and at the same time, danger – with Victor Churchill lies in the quality of its products. You could very easily walk out with so much more than you planned on – the variety is incredible, from all cuts of meat to poultry, game, house-made charcuterie, salts, oils, French butter, bread, rotisserie chicken, condiments… the list goes on. I myself walked in just to take a few photos, and walked out with two grass-fed dry aged rib-eye on the bone – the most satisfying impulse purchase I’ve made, ever.
All the meat is displayed in upright glass-door fridges, and there’s no shortage of choice. You’ll definitely find what you’re looking for – which is a nice change to most butchers that only seem to sell 4 or 5 cuts of beef, and almost always primary cuts only. It’s also fantastic to find a butcher that takes pride in the provenance of their meat – they can tell you where it came from and what it was fed on.
Without a doubt the most impressive piece of meat in the cabinet was the David Blackmore Wagyu Sirloin. Wow. Whilst the price may make you spill your latte, I’m willing to bet that it would be one of the most satisfying pieces of meat that you would ever eat. With a marble score of 9+ the maximum you can get in Australia, this is as marbled as you will ever get. The hand was reaching for the credit card, but I resisted..
Victor Churchill also produces some amazing charcuterie on-site. This is one their latest creation centre left – hand cut pork and muscadet sausages.
Some really delicious looking pastries and savoury dishes, all made in house…
And even more delicious looking desserts.
This was one of my favourite sections of the cabinet – duck fat and wagyu dripping (thinking roasted potatoes); foie gras; my most favourite butter in the world, Echire; and some home-made Cafe de Paris butter (sidenote – steak and Cafe de Paris butter really want to be together). All kinds of artery-clogging goodness here.
Coolest looking rotisserie I’ve ever seen – a Labesse Giraudon rôtisserie imported from France.
Better than your Woolies or Coles BBQ chook, I’ll bet.
The prep kitchen out the back – here they make all the hot preparations for sale – pastries, savouries, condiments etc., and there also is a separate cold kitchen where they make most of the charcuterie. Tiny, but practical…
The antique Dutch Berkel floor-standing slicer, restored to original condition – for display only.
Butchers at work.
The shop even features an homage to one of the Louis Vuitton window displays – their ‘chook-cam’ wall. On display today were truffle products (honey, salt and hazelnuts) – anything truffle is definitely worth being under CCTV protection in my opinion.
The final temptation – some mouth-watering Blackmore Wagyu Biltong..
Victor Churchill is open 7 days, and in addition to their shop they also hold butchery and cooking classes.
132 Queen St Woollahra
(02) 9328 0402