Are things better crumbed? It is a question that has plagued humankind for centuries. Is it not a question that has brought kings and queens to their knees? Have cities not burned? Have wars not been fought? In To Have and Have Not, did Lauren Bacall’s Slim not say, “You don’t have to say anything and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just schnitzel. You know how to schnitzel, don’t you, Steve?” Okay, probably not, but show me a man, woman or child that doesn’t enjoy a good schnitzel and I’ll show ’em the door.
Locally, we have Polish immigrant Roman Dyduk to thank for the humble crumbed creation we call a schnitzel – at least when it comes to arguably the best in town. “It all started with Polish migrant Roman Dyduk and his passion for authentic, humble, home-style cooking and hospitality,” Joseph Ceraso, Marketing Manager for Schnitz told us. “Roman’s owned many restaurants in and around Melbourne since 1975, most of which feature his three-generation-old signature schnitzel dish. In 2007, Roman opened a café in Melbourne again, with the staple hero product being the schnitzel.
“In 2009, Roman teamed up with his sons, Andrew and Tom, to take his vision for food and hospitality to the next level. It was from this moment that the Schnitz we know and love today was born. Five years on, we’re crumbing in 31 locations in Victoria and one in NSW, with many more stores scheduled for 2015.”
Good simple home cooking deserves a good simple philosophy. After all, there is a comfort in home cooking that is hard to beat. Call it the feeling of family. Oh, and a handy little catchword doesn’t hurt either. “We’ve always strived to provide schnitzaholics with the greatest tasting schnitzels in the world. Staying true to the home-style schnitzel is extremely important to us. The process for preparing and cooking our food is not dissimilar from what we’re used to enjoying in our own homes.”
Schnitz recently made the move to Geelong, with two stores now open – Waurn Ponds and Westfield Geelong. And with over 30 joints in Victoria, the team has developed a keen eye for location, location, location. “We love the relaxed, community atmosphere in Geelong and had an overwhelming number of schnitzaholics requesting stores in the area. A couple of locations came to our attention so we jumped at the opportunity.”
While chicken is the one many of us know and love, Schnitz will crumb just about anything. Beef, fish and vegetarian schnitzels are all available, all crumbed in Schnitz’s signature blended crumbs and pan-cooked to golden perfection. “Our aim has always been to give schnitzaholics a wide variety of flavours to pair with our signature schnitzels,” explains Joseph. “We offer 18 unique roll and wrap flavours, Moroccan spice or lemon pepper seasoning for crumb-free fillets, home-style gourmet salads, parmigiana, kids’ packs and much more. Our beer-battered, diamond cut chips are seasoned with Tom’s secret seasoning and are quickly gaining a reputation for being the best chips in town.”
If you’re not a crumby kind of person, you’ll still find enough on the menu. “We have four salads on offer – a refreshing Garden salad, a zesty Mediterranean salad and deliciously traditional Caesar salad, all of which can be ordered plain or with schnitzel strips or crumb-free fillets, as well as Home-style coleslaw.
You will also find a healthy selection of extras to go with your schnitzel – all made from the very best of ingredients, of course. “In his 39 years in the hospitality game, Roman has only ever wanted to offer the freshest quality ingredients in his restaurants and cafés. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure we’re using nothing but the best ingredients. As our brand expands, we’re able to maintain prices by improving our buying power.”
Just as they strive to offer the best food they can, all Schnitz stores attempt to create an atmosphere where you never feel rushed to finish your food and leave. “Our store design is as important as the way our food tastes. We want schnitzaholics to feel at home when they visit us, just as they might when visiting family or a good friend’s. Both our stores in Geelong offer ample seating and can cater for larger groups.”
And with that, there is one more question that needs to be asked: what would you recommend? Joseph: “The Plain & Simple or Basic Instinct in either a wrap or a roll is a great way to introduce friends and family to our menu. If they’re feeling more adventurous, the Parmageddon roll is a personal favourite – Napoli sauce and melted mozzarella cheese over a chicken, beef, fish or vegetarian schnitzel, topped with capsicum, mushrooms, fresh basil and a blend of Italian herbs, with the choice of Kalamata olives for those inclined. Ask for a slice of pineapple for even more flavour!”
Where: Schnitz – Shop 219, Westfield Geelong & Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre
By Alexander Lightfoot