Ever been bowled over by a restaurant's duck, beef, or a humble carrot? It's not all down to your inept cooking that it's so much better. Restaurants have access to produce that mere mortals are never even offered in the shops. That's suddenly changed as Melbourne's top tier venues have been forced to shutter.
Love a duck? You have to love the ones from Greg and Jodi Clarke, who have been raising Aylesbury and Pekin waddlers on their six and a half hectare Great Ocean Road property since 2009. These are truly free-range birds, reared on a diet of strawberries and the best in the game.
Last week the Clarke's were hand delivering private orders, but they are now available through Milking Yard Chicken's online store (another premium poultry producer whose birds can go for $90 in restaurants) and Andrew McConnell's butcher, Meatsmith.
Meatsmith, whose concept was always to sell restaurant-only products retail stocks a number of hard-hit vendors including Baker Bleu bread, and they are now doing home delivery.
Across the city, restaurants such as Becco are following suit turning into grocery stores to keep supporting their suppliers by selling wines, their own pastas, but also 00 flours and fresh produce as retail. Becco owner Simon Hartley says the store idea came from realising that Dobson potatoes, who supply to a huge number of restaurants, might fold unless they had a new outlet.
The luxe list goes on. Caviar? Specialist shops Simon Johnson and Georgie's Harvest are offering the sudden glut of top grade gear at a discount.
Excitingly, Prahran Market, which houses many specialist suppliers including Gary's Meats, is trialling a home delivery service, hiring displaced employees from the Big Group.
Want an oyster care package? That market has taken a cliff dive but companies such as Signature Oysters are selling to-your-door packs, including free shucker.
Several producers are going it alone. Top restaurant vegetable grower Ramarro Farm has closed its farm gate, but is taking veg box orders online Sunday-Wednesday for contactless Friday pick ups.
Suppliers such as Western Plains pork and Sher wagyu are all offering home delivery packs.
Missing restaurants? Replicate one in your home.