Austrian barbecue a big hit

Schnitzel Wirtin  owner Roman Kriszta guarantees that no customer goes hungry. MIRANDA GLASSER
Schnitzel Wirtin owner Roman Kriszta guarantees that no customer goes hungry. Miranda Glasser

Austrian barbecue a big hit

Austrian restaurant Schnitzel Wirtin, which opened last year near Central Market, and then moved premises this year to a bigger riverside venue near the crocodile farm, is now making full use of the larger space by setting up a big bar and a beer garden perfect for its new weekly barbecues.

Restaurant Schnitzel Wirtin, which opened last year near Central Market, and then moved premises this year to a bigger riverside venue near the crocodile farm, is now making full use of the larger space by setting up a big bar and a beer garden perfect for its new weekly barbecues.

Owner Roman Kriszta had been looking for larger premises for a while until he found the perfect spot.

Homemade rye bread is a hot item on the menu. PHOTO SUPPLIED
Homemade rye bread is a hot item on the menu. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Now that I have a family I needed a bigger place,” he says. “There’s a garden here, it’s nice and green. The beer garden is very nice for groups.”

The new restaurant seats 55 people as opposed to a mere 30 at the old place, and Kriszta has started weekly barbecue nights which are proving extremely popular with the expat crowd.

“We’ve started doing a barbecue every Friday,” he says. “I make a special two-hour barbecue for 20 people for $110 which includes spare ribs, pork chops, sausages, garlic bread and cabbage salad. It’s very good, and it’s really a big plate.

“It’s nice for the expats, for the NGOs, the volunteers, they’re always in big groups.”

He guarantees that no one goes hungry at his barbecues.

And although the move may have cost him 25-30 per cent of his former customer base as he is no longer near the big hotels, he still has many loyal customers including Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa general manager Hanno Stamm who has been known to bring along up to 25 people.

“I still have big groups,” he says, “Ninety per cent of my customers are expats, definitely. There are no tourists passing by here.”

The cordon bleu, one of the hearty dishes available at Schnitzel Wirtin. PHOTO SUPPLIED
The cordon bleu, one of the hearty dishes available at Schnitzel Wirtin. PHOTO SUPPLIED

He adds that the other 10 per cent are customers drawn by the glowing reviews on Tripadvisor – Schnitzel Wirtin ranks at number two out of Siem Reap’s 370 restaurants, and it has stayed in the top 15 since it opened.

“There was one lady here from Bangkok who’d read the reviews. We’d only been open two or three days and she said it was the best food she’d had in Cambodia,” Kriszta says.

A trained chef, pastry chef and baker, Kriszta attributes the restaurant’s enduring success to the extremely generous portions – several expats Insider spoke to confirmed it was nigh-on impossible to finish an entire meal.

The restaurant is also noted for quality of the meat it serves.

“I go to the market every day at 6am, buy the meat myself and check the quality. It makes a difference,” he says. “It’s simple food, but simple is the best.”

Some meat such as Thüringer sausage is imported from a German butcher in Thailand. Kriszta says customer favourites include the sausages and the wiener schnitzel.

A new addition to the menu is Kriszta’s homemade chocolate mousse – a recipe from his cruise ship days, while his freshly baked rye bread remains as popular as ever.

“I also have a lot of vegetarian food now,” he says, “I have fried camembert, fried cauliflower and we have cheese spaetzle (egg noodle) now. We have white sausage too, with imported Bavarian mustard.”

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