There’s a misconception about Pyrmont that it’s difficult to get to. Sure, there’s a slightly panic-inducing six-way intersection at Pyrmont Bridge Road near the Fish Market. But the suburb is close to everything – 10 minutes to the inner west, 10 to Surry Hills, 10 to the city. It also holds one of the city’s best lunch spots: Vic’s Meat Market.
Billed as “the essential meat experience”, Vic's Meat Market is one of the best places in Sydney to sample smoked meats, or buy your own from the top-quality butcher. The expert knowledge and service here is no fluke – it’s a subset of Victor Churchill, Australia’s largest butcher and wholesale meat supplier. Although it's no Queen Street location featuring dramatic sculptures and marble floors, there is a central display case with row after row of ruby steaks, featuring white lettering on the glass encouraging customers to “bag some beef” or “tame the beast”.
“It’s definitely the best value for money in town,” says Vic’s Meat Market manager Nick Denton. “There’s a great wagyu offering, the sausages are made in-house. We have a click-and-collect service where you can order at work and pick it up on the way home to save time.”
The other half of the space is a restaurant, where an enormous smoker sits as the centrepiece. You can choose a cut at the butcher and have the restaurant cook it on-site. As well as being open during the day, the restaurant has recently opened for evening services from Thursday to Sunday. On the first Sunday of every month you can bring your knives in to get sharpened. Need a coffee while you wait? Denton's favourite is Gregory's Hotbread at the Sydney Fish Markets. If a bit later in the day, he recommends a beer at the nearby Quarrymans Hotel or Harlequin Inn.
Denton says he’s noticed a trend of late. Cuts of meat once considered unusable offcuts are becoming more and more popular. “Customers are so educated because of the internet,” he says. “Things like flank or hanger steaks, or even brisket, were never sold a decade ago. Now people know all the parts of the animal and want to know where it's coming from.”