Muslim Couple Opens Stylish Butchery With Halal Coffee Dry-Aged Beef & Artisanal Sausages In Upp Thomson
Three years ago, Renga Vellasamy, 41, and Sophina Smith, 40, opened Muslim-friendly butcher shop The Meatery at Sunset Way with the hopes of fulfilling a specific need in the market. “I converted to Islam more than ten years ago. Previously, I bought prime meats from institutions like Huber’s Butchery and Culina but after embracing Islam, I realised there’s a huge gap in the market for good quality halal meats,” shares Renga, who converted to Islam a year before marriage to his Muslim wife. The mixed-race couple – Renga is Indian and Sophina is Eurasian with Javanese lineage – have three kids.
“We wanted to start somewhere small and we’ve always eyed this space at Sunset Way that we thought was perfect to start our business. When it became available, we YOLO-ed and took the plunge,” he continues, referring to The Meatery’s first store at Clementi Arcade, a small mall in their neighbourhood.
Their instincts turned out to be right. The biz did well enough for the Muslim-owned butchery to expand to its current digs at a tranquil residential enclave at Upper Thomson two months ago – about eight times bigger than its previous retail shop. “As our business grew, we were leasing different spaces around the island for storage. We felt that it was time to move into a bigger, centralised space,” he says.
The sleek new location, which cost about $150K to renovate, looks like it could be a chic butchery in Australia. It houses a large retail space, several meat processing and cooking areas, as well as walk-in chillers to store meats flown in from countries like Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States daily. While the shop doesn't have an official halal license yet, all meats sold here are halal-certified, non-genetically modified, and are ethically raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones.