In the heart of Bajo de San Isidro, on Calle Roque Sáenz Peña at 1138, hidden among trees and plants, is a typical alpine-style mansion. Its facade with exposed bricks, gabled roofs with tiles, white walls and several windows with wooden shutters; reminiscent of the beautiful Central European villages.
“Bolos”, reads on a piece of wood from yesteryear. It is just a preview of the variety of sports that are practiced inside the Austrian Sports and Social Club. Passing through an arched iron gate, you enter the restaurant’s spacious hall filled with tables dressed with placemats from different iconic monuments and statues of Vienna. “March a leberwurst (starter) and a Currywurst,” sings Kevin, one of the young waiters.
At another of the tables, some twenty flirtatious ladies gathered to celebrate Silvita’s birthday. They sing and clap, over and over again. They feel comfortable, as if the bright dining room is an extension of their home. In the large patio with a garden next to a beautiful vine, several parishioners contemplate the warm winter sun located at the little tables outside. Although the weather is cool, They warm up as soon as they take a bite of the famous goulash with Spätzle.
“They ask for it all year round, but in winter it is the undisputed star,” confesses Johnnie Giebert, one of those in charge of the concession of Austrian Restaurant. Between the months of June and July, the figures were a success: more than 500 kilos have come out.
They say that the history of the emblematic “Sportklub Austria” It began to be written in 1929, when a group of immigrants settled in the North Zone of Greater Buenos Aires.
At the time, they built their own headquarters and inaugurated a large swimming pool, bowling and tennis courts. Some time later the restaurant arrived: families began to enjoy the succulent typical dishes that they longed for so much from the land of their ancestors. Since then, the unmistakable flavors of goulash, leberwurst and strudel have made their grand entrance.
In a short time, it became a meeting point for the community. “I have been coming here for years with my family and now I bring my children. My favorite dish is goulash. Now in winter I also usually order it vacuum-packed to eat at home,” says Veronica, 45. Ernesto, another fanatic, says that he goes for a walk every week with his group of friends. In gatherings they like to share the “Nordic” picada with smoked tenderloin and bondiola, leberwurst, krakow, German sausage, cheese, pickles, relish and the inevitable fries. Like them, there are several who choose the place for its family atmosphere, warmth and abundant dishes.
It is almost one in the afternoon and the large hall is packed. With great speed, the chefs listen carefully to the orders and prepare the orders: from Currywurst with Coleslaw; passing through the Polish thread, up to a “Kassler”, a succulent cured and smoked pork rib with sauerkraut and roasted apples. At one of the rectangular tables, four friends snack on a classic: sausage tasting. It comes with six different varieties and a couple of side dishes (including potato salad and Coleslaw). “All the cured meats and sausages are handcrafted here,” says Giebert, who as a child grew up in the family farm in La Paz, Entre Ríos. There, during the slaughter season, he discovered his true passion.
“I became a fan of charcuterie and the truth is that I love it. More than a decade ago I met César “Wilson” Sagario and he infected me even more with the passion for this world that allows us to try recipes and formulas all the time”, he says, who loves to venture with different spices and aromatics: from curry, cachi salta paprika (with intense spicy flavor), coriander ginger, basil, parsley and mint. “It is fun to surprise the diner with novelties. Every month we present a new sausage”, he advances. Among the classics, the emblematic “Currywurst” stands out, based on chicken and bacon with curry, lime peel and fresh herbs; the Polish Thread, a mix of pork, beef, bacon and spices with a slight smoky flavor and the “Vienna”, made with steer meat, pork and bacon. Lightly smoked. “The Weisswurst, with 50% chicken meat and the remainder lean bacon with added herbs, milk and egg, also has a lot of fans”, he assures. His version of Leber includes ginger, cardamom, black and white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, among other spices. It is accompanied with a homemade rye bread.
The culinary journey through the lands of musical genius Amadeus Mozart continues with goulash with Spätzle, the house’s great workhorse.
Habitués go out of their way for this dish at any time of the year. “In June the demand was impressive. We beat records”, advances Johnnie. Although there are countless recipes, the one offered here is super simple. “We use roast beef. The ragout is cooked at a low temperature and has onion, cachi peppers (we don’t use paprika), salt and pepper”, he sums up. When there are large groups, they usually order the portion for four: a large casserole arrives in the center of the table to share.
For the sweet moment, bite into the “Apfelstrudel”, the apple strudel with a soft puff pastry and topped with American cream ice cream. Another emblem is the famous Sacher cake, a cake that originated in Vienna at the beginning of the 19th century. It is a soft chocolate sponge cake filled with apricot jam and covered with chocolate.
“The beauty of simplicity,” reads a rustic sign on the restaurant’s door. At the club they are already preparing to receive the faithful guests of the weekend. Among the regulars will be Erni, a 94-year-old woman, enjoying her portion of goulash under the vine.