Published on 19 November 2021
Gourmet magazine called it the “Tiffany of butcher shops”. Anthony Bourdain called it “the most beautiful butcher in the world”. Now, in a devilishly Melbourne twist, you can drink Champagne inside it.
Founded in 2009 by Anthony Puharich in Sydney’s affluent Woollahra, Victor Churchill turned the act of butchery into a dramatic art, bringing the nation’s best meat to the people from a design award-winning shop that draws as many tourists as it does customers.
Twelve years later in an ex-bank on Armadale’s High Street, Melburnians now have access to the premium goods, including locally produced Cobungra Station full-blood wagyu from Mt Hotham and O’Connor grass-fed premium Black Angus beef from Gippsland.
In a rare case of sequel surpassing original, the Melbourne store is arguably even grander than its sister. The floors are made of deep green Verde marble, veined with natural variegations that imitate the texture of protein. Fine copper arches by Di Emme heighten and delineate the space. Floor-to-ceiling salt bricks backdrop gigantic slabs of dry-ageing beef. There’s a brooding beauty here; a natural Melbourne noir.
“I genuinely love the city,” says Puharich of the meat emporium’s second home. “We’re excited to open our first store for our customers and the locals to enjoy. I’m going all out to give them their own special version of Victor Churchill.”
By eliminating the meat counter that traditionally separates customer from butcher, Victor Churchill is able to run a more bespoke brand of service. Customers are greeted on the floor, introduced to the concept and guided through the goods. Picture Gucci, now fill it with sausages.
“We did it first in Sydney and it’s become a huge part of what we’re about. We want our customers to feel comfortable and important. Above all, we want the experience of shopping at Victor Churchill to be personal, intimate,” says Puharich.
The shop’s “pantry” is stocked, naturally, with bread from Baker Bleu. The fridges with meats of various backstories and preparations, house-made pâté (for which the Sydney store is renowned) and charcuterie cut finer than paper.
It’s at the back, though, where the Melbourne store comes into its own: a 12-seat horseshoe bar where customers can celebrate their purchases over a glass of local or imported fizz and bite from a menu of bistro classics. In 2022, The Bar will open for dinner.
There’s a lot to take in here, and there’s a lot to take home. We’re not kidding about the bouncer, either. But when the top-shelf wagyu is going for close to $500 per kilogram, you can understand why this butcher could use a little extra beef.
Victor Churchill, open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 8am-6pm, 398 High Street, Armadale, victorchurchill.com.au
By Frank Sweet
You might also like
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria's best food and drink.