The first of my features on my recommended shops at the Queen Vic Market has to be Sardes Quality Meats.
Along the lines there are a plethora of butchers that can sell you trays of porterhouse for $10 or rump steaks the size of a… well, the size of a bloody big cow. There is only one Sardes Quality Meats.
I’ll talk about Harry and Tony and Linda. See. First name basis. Tony has been there for 46 years, and 31 years ago he got his son (Harry) to help out (run the show?). Linda comes in (mainly on the busy Saturdays) to help out.
Harry spares me some time to have a chat while Tony cuts up the fresh lamb rumps.
I ask him how he knows that a cut of beef is good. How does it get a place in the Sardes window? Harry responds with a wry smile; “31 years of butchering”. But he shows me a fresh cut of scotch fillet. “See how its firm?” He grabs a few wet aged whole pieces from the cool room and points to one. “I don’t buy from these guys any more, they’ve just gone down in quality.”
I haven’t done 31 years of butchering, but Harry has. So I just trust Harry. He does my selecting for me.
The key to what Sardes stock is a choice of suppliers instead of a huge range of different cuts. Predominantly they sell rib eye, eye fillet and scotch (and maybe some porterhouse and “ground while you wait” minced lamb / beef). Within that range they have grass fed cape grim, grain fed barley and silage mix fed angus, cross bred wagyu and a range in between. There are lumps of branded meats everywhere (a meat lovers heaven!)
I notice that Harry and Tony don’t slice up their meats like the rest of the butchers. He responds with a shrug; “everyone likes their steaks cut differently”. A nice big fat rib eye for me, and a tasty little eye fillet for me later. Exactly.
Harry is proud of some of the places he supplies and reals off a couple of names of pubs and restaurants. You know “Bouzy Rouge“? No. But I think I might go visit.
“We’ve been doing a bit of goats now” and he starts talking about the goat they’ve been getting down from Myrtleford. I mention the lamb shoulder I got from him a while ago and his eyes widen a little. “You’ve gotta give me some notice if you want lamb shoulders, I keep running out”. Lamb legs are on special at the moment.
By far my favorite butchers of the market, and I can’t stop recommending them to everyone I know (and a whole bunch of people I don’t know).
Sardes will dry age beef for you on request.
They are the first shop on the right as you enter from the Victoria Street side.