It isn’t easy to replicate a restaurant dish when you’re cooking at home, even if you’re following a recipe. The flavours are more complex, the textures are more nuanced and the combinations are more balanced – and then there’s that elusive restaurant oomph.

Part of it comes down to technique – chefs spend years honing it, after all – but another important factor is the produce. Getting your hands on restaurant-quality produce isn’t always easy.

But since restaurants have closed or switched to takeaway due to Covid-19, producers and suppliers are making their wares more accessible to the public. Just like these Melbourne-based seafood wholesalers that now deliver, a number of premium meat farmers and butchers will now drop their chef-approved cuts at your door.

Never miss a Melbourne moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Producers

Great Ocean Ducks
Greg and Jodi Clarke launched their farm over a decade ago with 30 Aylesbury ducklings, which grow into large white ducks. They now also raise the Pekin variety (which look similar, but have a slightly less delicate flavour) and care for hundreds of birds.

Before Covid-19, Great Ocean Road ducks were served at some of Melbourne’s best eateries, including Andrew McConnell’s restaurants (Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Marion and Supernormal); Brae; Royal Mail Hotel; Sunda; Anchovy; and Bar Margaux.

Now the Clarkes have excess ducks on their hands, so they’re selling whole ducks direct to the public for the first time. There’s no online shop – just get in touch with Jodi via email.

Great Ocean Ducks delivers to metropolitan Melbourne on Wednesdays, with a minimum order of four whole ducks.

greatoceanducks.com

Bundarra Berkshires
In Barham, on the NSW side of the Murray River, Lachlan and Lauren Mathers look after hundreds of Berkshire pigs, all raised, butchered and hand-cured or smoked (for charcuterie) on the farm. Their clients include restaurants such as Hazel, Anchovy, Annam and Henry Sugar.

Order fresh cuts of pork, charcuterie, pantry staples or pre-packed variety boxes. You can also sign up for the Swine Club subscription service (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly) for exclusive cuts and 15 per cent off retail prices.

Order by Monday 9am for delivery on Thursday. The delivery fee is $15 for metropolitan Melbourne, or free for orders over $150 within 10 kilometres of the CBD or for Swine Club members.

bundarraberkshiresshop.com

Hopkins River Beef
The Maconochie family has been raising cattle near the Grampians for more than 80 years, officially launching the Hopkins River Beef brand in 1996. We’ve spotted it on menus at Donovans, The Recreation, Bottega and Lamaro’s Hotel.

Hopkins River Beef is selling pre-packed boxes of eye fillet (18 kilos for $40 per kilo), porterhouse (18 kilos for $23 per kilo) and scotch fillet (15 kilos for $33 per kilo). Get in touch with Georgina Maconochie via email to place an order.

Hopkins River Beef delivers to Melbourne on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Delivery costs are included in the price of each box.

hopkinsriverbeef.com

Milking Yard Farm
Bruce Burton farms Sommerlad chickens, which are bred specifically to thrive in Australia’s weather and free-range farming conditions. The result is meat that’s darker than your average chook, with richer fat, a stronger flavour, and thicker skins that can get crispier, too. These chooks have been seen on menus at Brae, Daylesford’s Lake House, Trattoria Emilia, Lûmé and Ezard.

You can now order the chooks online ¬– they range in size from two kilos to five-kilo roosters, and come whole or pre-butchered. Sign up for monthly CSA deliveries for a discount on retail prices.

Editor’s note: Milking Yard Farm has temporarily suspended orders. We’ll update this article when orders become available again.

Milking Yard Farm delivers to metropolitan Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula and most of regional Victoria. The delivery fee is $15. Orders close each at 5pm every Monday, with deliveries made on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

milkingyardfarm.com.au

Wholesalers

Vic’s Meat Direct
One of the best butchers in Australia, Vic’s Meat supplies Vue de Monde, Stokehouse, Matilda and Estelle in Melbourne, and Bennelong and Quay in Sydney.

Earlier this month, the wholesaler launched Vic’s Meat Direct, selling basics such as sausages, mince, bacon, chicken and hamburger patties, as well as premium fare that previously only went to restaurants, such as Kurobuta pork, Wagyu bresaola and meat from Rangers Valley, Blackmore Wagyu and O’Connor.

vicsmeat.com.au

University Meat
The family-run business – founded by Eusebio Marcocci in 1960, and now run by his sons – has supplied meat to caterers, hotels, stadiums and restaurants such as Maha and Cecconi’s.

The company’s new For Home range includes cuts such as osso buco, chicken maryland, lamb cutlets, rolled pork belly and veal schnitzel. It also has stocks, sauces and pulses to cook with your meats, including red-wine jus and bearnaise sauce.

University Meat delivers across metro Melbourne. Order by 2pm for next-business-day delivery on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Delivery is $55 or free for orders over $200.

universitymeat.com.au

Butchers

Meatsmith
Troy Wheeler and Andrew McConnell’s butchery stocks ready-to-eat meals, pantry staples and booze, but the meat is the star here, sourced from local producers such as O’Connor, Glen Eyrie, and a rotation of lamb suppliers (depending on which breeds peak with the seasons). There’s also poultry (some pre-marinated cuts, too) and a range of sausages.

Meatsmith currently delivers to suburbs near its Fitzroy, St Kilda and Brighton stores. Deliveries are made Monday to Friday for a $10 delivery fee (or free for orders over $70). Order by 2pm for next-day delivery.

meatsmith.com.au

Hagen’s Organics
What began as a fruit and vegetable store at the Prahran Market is now a second-generation family-run butchery with five locations across the city. Hagen’s focuses on organic produce, and works closely with local farmers to ensure that all meat is humanely farmed.

Hagen’s delivers Tuesdays to Saturdays across metro Melbourne, with limited days for Mornington Peninsula and surrounding suburbs. Delivery is $15 for orders under $70, and free for orders over $70.

hagensorganics.com.au

Peter Bouchier
Peter and Sue Bouchier opened their first butchery in 1983, and nearly two decades later they’ve got two other stores and a special facility for smallgoods production. Their tagline “butchers of distinction” is backed up by premium brands, notably Blackmore Wagyu and Cape Grim beef from Tasmania.

Peter Bouchier delivers to a limited number of Melbourne suburbs. The delivery fee is $5, or free for orders over $50.

petergbouchier.com.au

Cannings Free-Range Butchers
As you might expect, all the meat sold at Cannings comes from free-range animals. The company grew out of founder Sam Canning’s respect for animals, so the team ensures all farm partners take good care of their livestock.

Cannings delivers throughout Melbourne from Tuesday to Saturday, with next-day delivery available for orders placed before 3pm. The delivery fee is calculated based on location, or free for orders over $99.

canningsfreerangebutchers.com.au