Prime Lamb: Taste for lamb lingers

Prime Lamb: Taste for lamb lingers

Special Publications
Aa

The heritage shopfront may be the face of Meat and Livestock Australia's beef commercials but Elvy's on Allen sells its fair share of lamb too.

Aa
BUTCHER'S HOOK: Elvy's on Allen owner David Nedelkovski and former owner John Elvy with their Temora Dorper lamb carcases. Photos: Paul Melville

BUTCHER'S HOOK: Elvy's on Allen owner David Nedelkovski and former owner John Elvy with their Temora Dorper lamb carcases. Photos: Paul Melville

The heritage shopfront may be the face of Meat and Livestock Australia's beef commercials but Elvy's on Allen sells its fair share of lamb too.

The corner store in Sydney's Leichhardt has been home to the Elvy family's butcher shop since 1952 when John Elvy's parents Ted and Marjorie moved their business from nearby Stanmore.

Mr Elvy took over the Allen Street business in 1973. After 40 years of cheerfully serving his loyal clientele and offering recipe advice, the Elvy dynasty was destined to end in 2013 when John decided to sell up to spend more time with his family. The mayor even threw a party for him.

But he couldn't walk away and these days works at least two days a week in the store now owned by David Nedelkovski, alongside Aldo Gallina and apprentice Aiden Clarkson.

RELATED READING:

While the traditions remain, the butchers' lamb buying habits have changed due to the record high prices.

They still buy carcases direct from a producer, but they used to supplement the orders with extra cuts such as squares, loins and boxes of lamb shanks.

"There's buying opposition because of the price of lamb," Mr Elvy said.

"The numbers have dropped because of the price and we talk our customers into beef because they can get a bigger proposition kilograms-wise. For a man who would eat four or five cutlets, you can buy one big T-bone steak."

Mr Nedelkovski said price was a big factor for the retailer and the consumer.

"We're buying less lamb because we can't afford to carry it any more," he said.

"The prices are absolutely mental, really crazy. Once we've sold out, we're done.

"We don't have a problem selling them. I could have sold 50 cutlets to one guy in here today at $60/kg. What we buy, we sell, which is a good thing."

Elvy's doesn't do value added lamb cuts but stretches to lamb and rosemary gluten-free sausages using sheep casings. It supplies the school, sporting clubs and a childcare centre, which can charge more for the high quality.

Elvy's also sells a lot of lamb brains and kidneys.

And the butchers will always go the extra mile if customers ask for special treatment such as marinated lamb or butterflied or rolled lamb shoulders or legs.

"We get a lot of return customers out of that and when their friends taste it at the dinner tables, we get even more customers," Mr Elvy said.

Butchers prefer Dorper carcases

Elvy's on Allen is one of the rare butcher shops in Sydney to still break down their own carcases.

Owner David Nedelkovski buys lamb carcases direct from Temora Dorper farmer Adam Swanston and his father Henry.

He buys 20 to 30 lambs a week but sometimes only 15.

Mr Nedelkovski said he and his customers liked the Dorpers, which are "short, stumpy, meaty, sweet lambs".

"They've got nice fat and good cover.

"We buy nothing over 18kg and pay good prices for it because we know we are getting what we pay for.

"We don't do value added with lamb. We're very traditional, we want to keep it real.

"By the time you trim lamb it's not worth it."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by