Great ideas often start their lives being scrawled on a paper napkin over a conversation, a glass (or more) of wine and at least two people who see promise and possibility in the initial thought.

The foundation of Skinner & Hackett in Carlton played to a similar tune. Wine rep and menu writer Jonathan Stobbs planted the seed for the idea after he noticed that the high-quality cuts of meat available to the restaurants he worked with were much harder to find in a retail context.

It comes in handy that he shared this idea over a glass of wine with Gerald Diffey, owner of Gerald’s Bar and St Clement’s Greengrocer in Carlton North and Brooks in the city, who saw promise and possibility. Together, they’ve turned the conversation into a specialist meat store. Rounding out the inner northern shopping strip (there is also a deli, bakery, green grocer and bottle shop), Skinner & Hackett is the final clause in a delicious culinary narrative on the Rathdowne Village strip.

Skinner & Hackett is more than a butcher shop – there are sandwiches, cured meats and a very sexy black slicer called Desdemona. Stobbs and his manager, hospitality professional Bruce Gray, know most of the farmers and producers they buy from, many of whom are from Victoria. The pair will tell you stories, offer cooking suggestions or just enjoy some banter.

Give Skinner & Hackett a try. Unlike some wine induced epiphanies, this one was actually a good idea.

Skinner & Hackett
400 Rathdowne St, Carlton
(03) 9347 6642

Tues-Sat 10am-7pm