Last week I put the call out to find Canberra’s best schnitzel, or schnitty, as it’s often called.
Nominations came in for Schnitzel Haus, the RUC in Barton, Capital Golf Club and Zierholz, but the two most popular candidates were the Dickson Tradies and the Austrian Club. So I took to the streets to taste off one of my favourite foods, armed with an empty stomach, my Samsung galaxy and a couple of hungry helpers.
First stop was the Dickson Tradies. I used to love coming here as a kid (there was something about eating a schnitzel in a tram that made it even more enjoyable). Unfortunately, the tram experience is no longer available, but the quality schnitzel is.
The Tradies has a large range of schnitzels on offer, with all sorts of crazy toppings, but for the taste off I kept things simple.I ordered a chicken schnitzel (the Tradies doesn’t serve traditional veal schnitzel), with peppercorn sauce, chips and salad.
It costed $19 as a non-member, which I thought was a little steep, but members can get it for a very reasonable $12.
The service was fast, and the schnitzel was great. For starters, it was in the shape of a love-heart, the perfect representation of my bromance with schnittys. The batter was crispy without being overcooked. The chicken was thick and juicy, not dry at all.
The pepper sauce had a good kick, and the chips were thick-cut and actually tasted like potato! The size was reasonable, but there was an option for a larger-sized schnitzel for a couple of dollars extra, so I guess I’m just schnit-picking.
The Austrian Club in Mawson was my next port of call. I love getting out to the cultural clubs in Canberra, as you’re guaranteed to get something a little different.
I ordered the lunch special for $14, which comes with a goulash, then a schnitzel and two sides of your choice. I again neglected tradition and chose a pork schnitzel, but could’ve also selected chicken or veal. I got it with sauerkraut and spaetzle (a type of soft egg noodle) on the side.
The schnitzel itself was divine. It was a bit crispier than the Tradies, and the meat a bit tastier. However, I think in general, pork is a tastier meat in schnitzel than chicken. The size was about the same as the Tradies, certainly not mammoth, but enough to get you full.
The sides were also seriously tasty, whilst offering a totally different style of schnitzel feed than the Tradies. The schnitzel was served with a wedge of lemon, which is traditional over the Australian preference for gravy or other sauce. The lemon provided that perfect bit of zest the dish needed. It should be noted I had to pay a $6 fee to become a member so I could eat in the restaurant.It was totally worth it, as I’ll be back soon for another round.
This taste off pitted Australian schnitzel against Austrian schnitzel, so the verdict really comes down to which you prefer. If you’re used to the classic Australian club feed, with gravy and chips, the Austrian Club will be a welcome change for you.
But really, both schnitzel feeds were fantastic, and I would absolutely take them again in future. The winner of this taste off though has to be the Austrian Club. Hands down, cut the schnit, best schnitzel in Canberra for my taste.