Sunday evening I tootled off to the Tradies Club in Dickson for some good old fashined comfort food in the shape of a Chicken Scnnitzel with pepper sauce. Now the Dickson Tradies Schnitty needs no introduction to Riotacters – as we all know it is a wonderous thing (magnificently unhealthy to be sure, you feel your arteries clogging as you dine) and somewhat of an institution in Canberra. When I arrived I could tell stright away that things were amiss – the recent renovations had finshed and while the hole in the wall where you order was considerably perked up (you can now see the kitchen proper, like a fancy cafe) there was no immediate indication of schnitzels (the board is no longer up). Even after a quick look at the menu, schnitzels were not immediately apparent. “Oh no!” I said to the lady at the till, “don’t tell me you don’t do schnitzels anymore”. She assured me they did and pointed them out on the menu – my heart sank as the words, “the famous schnitzels are now even better” were printed thereon. Is there an example anywhere in history where a food product labelled as “now even better” has turned out to be that way? Dishearted, I ordered a chicken schnitty with pepper sauce – hoping it was just a slip of the tongue when the lady said, “pepper gravy” as she repeated my order.
After a while, my little buzzer thingy buzzed to let me know that my order was ready – I went and picked up and my heart sank even lower – where there should have been a beautiful thin schnitty the size of my head lieberally covered in pepper sauce was instead two thick schnitzel like items, with a drizzle of what looked like gravy with some green peppercorns thrown in. I sat down, cut off a piece and ate it – it was awful. It was obviously a pre-packaged, frozen schnitzel – like you would buy from the frozen food section of Woolies. With thick crusting (not breaded, more like a batter) with the meat too thick for a true schnitty. The sauce was even worse, packet gravy with pepercorns thrown in. Now the old Tradies pepper sauce had its ups and downs, but it was actually a real sauce made with staock and cream – not Gravox. The whole thing was disgusting, and a disgrace – if I wanted Inghams frozen schnitzels, I would’ve had em at home!
While I will write to the Tradies to protest this outrage, I’m not sure what good it will do as it is obvious that the bistro has been outsourced to a catering company – God knows why, it can’t be to save money given how rich the club is. In the meantime I’m now looking for a new schnitty – preferably in a club as it’s easier to manage a baby & pram in a club than a restaurant.