The only international travel I am doing this year, and maybe for the next few years, is with my tastebuds! This week they are journeying to Germany, the land of hearty food and beer steins.
My trip takes me to Narrabundah, the home of the Harmonie German Club since 1964. It was opened by the many German migrants who made a home in Canberra after their work on the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric scheme came to an end.
It has been an endearing destination in the region ever since, playing host to markets, community groups and live music. It is also responsible for Oktoberfest (pre-COVID-19, that is).
Inside the club, past the German beers, wines, ciders and schnapps, is Knuckles Restaurant – the headquarters for hearty-food fans where pork knuckles and mega-schnitzels abound.
In 2016 when Caterade took over the kitchen at Knuckles Restaurant, things really took off for the eatery, according to club CEO and contract caterer Paul Berger.
“I worked with retired German chef and friend, Oliver Buecher, who is now a director of the club, on a fantastic new menu and concept for the new restaurant. Immediately, the chefs under the tutelage of Mr Buecher created some excellent traditional German meals, and we have never looked back.”
The options at the restaurant are wide and varied, including all genres of Canberra favourite club dishes, from pizza, pasta, and steak. But it is the German section of the menu that accounts for 80 per cent of the meals flying out of the kitchen.
The restaurants’ namesake is their signature dish and customers are encouraged to prebook so they don’t miss out.
“We are famous for our Schweinshaxen (pork knuckle) with a secret marinade including caraway.”
“Wurst (sausage), Rinder Rouladen (Beef Roulade), Frikadellen (German Rissoles), Kassler (pork loin), pork belly, Spaetzle (German noodles) are all also extremely popular and quintessentially German. We also do some fantastic schnitzels including pork, veal, chicken and vegan-friendly tofu.”
As to what to try, Paul says that it all depends on what day you visit.
“On the weekend, I would suggest one of the tasting platters. The German Experience is a huge platter with all the goodies, including a pork knuckle. We have a very popular schnitzel platter, a Munich Man’s feast, or even the sharing Entrée Mates plate.
“During the week, Tuesday is $12.00 Schnitzel Night, Wednesday is Wurst Wednesday, with a selection of some of our favourite Sausages or even a platter to try them all! Thursday is Knuckle Madness – get your pork knuckle with a complimentary German Ale or drink of choice.”