Fourth-generation butcher Victor Puharich and son Anthony – who also took up the trade – originally opened Victor Churchill in Sydney in 2009 to critical acclaim. It won an international interior design award for best retail, and the late Anthony Bourdain once called it “the most beautiful butcher shop in the world”.
The pair spent decades building relationships with Australia’s best meat producers and supplying their goods to top restaurants – including Lake House Daylesford, Anchovy, Bistro Gitan, Lee Ho Fook and Maha in Victoria – under the wholesaler banner of Vic’s Premium Quality Meat. At its Melbourne retail shop and bar, you can access this high-quality meat directly.
Moving through the green curtain, you’re greeted by three metres of curved glass, behind which butchers put on a show chopping different cuts of beef, chicken, pork and lamb on wooden blocks.
Deeper in the shop is the prized meats, sourced from producers across Australia and a select few from overseas. Locally there might be Cobungra Station full-blood Wagyu from Mount Hotham, O’Connor Black Angus from Gippsland and free-range poultry from Milawa.
Deeper still is the charcuterie counter, where cured meats are sliced to order using restored vintage Berkel slicers from the 1930s. It’s mostly stocked with local smallgoods from family businesses such as De Palma Salumi.
Behind it stands the jewel of Victor Churchill’s crown: the dry-aging room, where 500 kilograms of rib-eyes, T-bones, sirloins and rumps hang from the ceiling in a temperature-controlled cabinet.
And at the shop’s very back sits a tiny wine bar. Twelve seats are arranged around a horseshoe-shaped bar, which serves around 100 bottles, a tight list of cocktails and dishes of the meaty variety.
It’s classic European fare, which might include duck-confit croquettes, house-made chicken-liver parfait with foie gras and black truffle, steak tartare with gaufrette crisps, lamb-cutlet tomahawk with chimichurri, Rangers Valley sirloin, and Kurobuta bone-in pork chops.
The chefs cook everything over either wood or charcoal, and serve the exact same meat and produce as you’ll find on the shelves. Some notable exceptions might be oysters to start and fresh lobsters from the built-in tank (blink and you’ll miss it).
The Loopcreative-designed space is blanketed in dark-green Verde marble floors (echoing meat’s fatty marbling), baroque copper arches (a nod to the family’s Croatian heritage) and rich timbers. There are playful touches, too, like brass sausages in place of plain drawer and cabinet handles.