Sydney Fish Market
50-60 Bank St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
I’m a sucker for some American-styled BBQ, but unfortunately the real stuff is notoriously hard to find outside of the States. However, word on the street is that Vic’s Meat Market, located right next door to the Sydney Fish Market, is a pretty dab hand with a smoker. And after several years of pining, I finally managed to make my way out there in the last couple weeks I had off before I get hustled off into the world to become a real doctor (apparently).
It may seem bizarre that a BBQ shop is open at the fish markets, and I wouldn’t blame you for not thinking much of it from first impressions. The restaurant consists of no more than a takeaway counter, bare-bones seating that’s mostly outdoors, and a slightly Texan theme that is more reminiscent of a Ribs and Burgers branch than anything else, and a rather janky one at that. But actions speak louder than words, and Vic’s Meat Market – a butcher first and foremost – is the supplier of choice for some of the best restaurants around the country, including the likes of Quay and Vue De Monde. Not to mention, the smells coming out of the two hefty smokers were pretty legit, as were the queues that formed around lunch time.
The Little Vic ($49) is the platter they recommend for two, which consists of 3 meats (about 150g each), as well as a selection of sides and pickles. And despite my hasty judgements earlier, all my misgivings were wiped clean the moment this landed on our table.
After the disappointment of the brisket at The Oxford Tavern, this 10 Hour Smoked Wagyu Brisket was like a chorus of angels. So tender you’d be hard-pressed to pick it up with your fork without it falling apart, this was edged with a generous layer of fat, and every bite was infused with spices and smoke. It was the best brisket I’ve had for a long while.
Equally good were the 12 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork and House Made Smoked Kurobuta Tuscan Style Sausage. Although I shouldn’t be surprised given the quality of the brisket, I was delighted by the juiciness of the pork. Similarly, the sausage was also top-notch, with a satisfying coarse and meaty texture, and just the right amount of fat to give it flavour without becoming greasy. It goes wonderfully well with the sharp house-made chilli sauce, though don’t skip on the BBQ or special burnt ends sauce either.
We supplemented our order with a serve of Vic’s Famous Burnt Ends in Special Sauce ($12, 100g). Ever since first having it at Meatmother, burnt ends have had a very special place in Chris’ heart, and he was absolutely delighted by these. The chunks of brisket were alternatingly meltingly tender and satisfyingly chewy, and were smothered in an addictive sauce reminiscent of a spicy BBQ, but with a note of fruity sweetness. This is definitely worth adding to your order if you’ve got a bit of room to spare.
Accompanying the meats were some worthy sides. I tend to prefer my coleslaw mayo-free, but I will make an exception for the House Made Texan Slaw, which despite the mayo, was still light and refreshing, and the creaminess was a welcome reprieve whenever I put a little too much chilli sauce on my pulled pork. The Potato Salad meanwhile was perfection, the fluffy spuds tinged orange with smoky paprika, its richness tempered by the crunch of celery and spring onion, as well as a generous hand with the vinegar. To round things out was a serve of 12 Hour House Made Boston Beans in a Smoky Sauce, which though simple, was satisfyingly hearty.
It may have been an annoyingly long trip to get out to the fish markets – seriously Sydney, sort out your public transport situation – but the BBQ at Vic’s Meat Market was worth the early wakeup and bus transfers on a Saturday morning. If I’m not mistaken, this is the best BBQ I’ve had since moving to Sydney, and just one of the better ones I’ve had, period. The meat is of the highest quality, cooked to perfection, and for a very very reasonable price as well. And just to top things off, there’s even a meat museum next door to check out after lunch, though I believe some people call it a butcher.
Rating: 14.5/20 – best bbq in sydney.
This rating reflect my personal experience at the time of visit.