Where? -Everywhere (but we went to the Brunswick one)
Price? - Parma, Chips & Salad - $16.90
Website? - http://schnitz.com.au/
Reviewers – Kylie, Lee, Nikki, Shanan, Stefo [/info]
If you haven't heard of Schnitz you must have been living under a rock for the past 12 months, although any longer and nobody would blame you (and I don't mean to be offensive, I hear interior designers are doing amazing things with rocks these days. Damn cosy). Seemingly overnight these places have popped up everywhere, I remember seeing the one on Elizabeth St and the one at Doncaster Shopping center - but looking at the Schnitz website there are now 19 locations around victoria, with another 5 'coming soon', It's hard to swing a cat without hitting a Schnitz.
However, if it has been cosy under that rock and you haven't seen a Schnitz store, I'd say the best way to describe it would be similar to "Nando's", but for schnitzels. Very similar decor and they share the same "Half dine in/half fast-food" style.
We chose the store on Sydney Road in Brunswick, mostly because it has just opened and was the easiest one for us to get to - but I think, due to the fast food nature of the business, that it's safe to assume that the quality of this parma will speak for all of the locations.
We arrived at the very busy restaurant and managed to secure a spot in front of the counter where I snapped this photo of the menu...
As you can see its a very pure schnitzel-oriented menu with only a small section set aside for the parmas (bottom right hand side, "meals and parmas" if you missed it. There is one parma in the wrap/roll section called the "parmageddon" which I thought was an odd choice - why offer a spicy mexicana style parma wrap and not a standard? Seems like a missed opportunity.
If you can't make out the parma part of the menu due to my spectacular photography skills, here is a close up I snagged from the website -
Quite a few options, which is nice to see. Not everyone likes a salad with their parma so its good form to offer it cheaper without. Not pictured was also a list of 7 different flavours of chip dip, for an extra $1 a piece.
We placed our orders and returned to the table. Everyone got a parma, chips & salad - but a couple opted for the Coleslaw in place of garden salad - Purist that I am, I stayed with the garden salad.
I won't lie - It hurt that I couldn't get a beer with my parma. In the four years we've been doing this I don't think I've ever had a parma without an accompanying cold one. I swallowed my pain as I cracked the bottle of Pepsi.
After about 6 or 7 minutes the parmas started arriving (although the last of the five didn't come out for another 10 minutes after the first one did)...
Ohhh no. The schnitzel was tiny. They tried to cover it by putting the chips on top and using an oversized bowl for the salad, but it was tiny - no bigger than a CD in circumference. I cut it open and was relieved to see pure, white chicken breast. It was thin, it was small, but at least it was real chicken.
The toppings were pretty disappointing. There was a lot of cheese and plenty of napoli but it was all as bland as a pair of beige curtains. No ham, no spices, just nothingness.
Now, one thing I heard time and time again about Schnitz - "You've got to try the chips". If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times. The chips at Schnitz are the bomb - or so they say... And I've got to admit, they were right.
Beautifully cooked, plenty of them and coated in the most succulent seasoning mixtures I've tasted - Like a mixture of chicken salt and the stuff McDonalds used to give you for their "shaker fries", not to mention its well worth shelling out the extra $1 for some chip dip to just finish off the experience - although to be honest, they're good enough that they stand up on their own, without the need for additional dippage.
I was pleasantly surprised with the salad. Maybe because I had low expectations for a fast food place, but the cucumbers, lettuce, onion and cherry tomatoes all remained crisp. It wasn't fantastic, but it was better than what I was expecting, and the option to swap it out for coleslaw is a nice touch as well.
Would I pay $16.90 again for what I got a Schnitz? Probably not. The parma was just too small to warrant the price - That's not to say I wouldn't go back for a bowl of chips - That I could definitely recommend, and with the amount of Schnitz's now in Victoria I can't imagine you'd have to travel far to find them, wherever you live.
I was disappointed with this parma. I figured a place called Schnitz would sell a good Schnitz - The foundation for a good parma, but unfortunately it just came off bland, small and unloved - I'm not sure why I expected more from a fast food place. Definitely go back for the chips though, they were outstanding.
- Outstanding chips
- Choice of sides & sauces
- Small, bland & boring parma