A retired business owner, my passions are cooking, photography and eating. I use all three of these when I write for recipeyum.com.au which is on HubGarden
Published June 4th 2017
Most enjoyable Polish food at the Cracovia Club
My parents were European so I am used to food such as goulash, dumplings, cabbage and pancakes. Although they were in Australia most of their lives, the food they ate was quite different to that my Australian friends ate. Furthermore, I am so pleased that I learnt to eat and appreciate European food as it is somehow more diverse and interesting than Australian food.
It is very "meat" orientated and although I now rarely eat red meat, I still enjoy it when I eat out or when I occasionally make it at home. So I was delighted when a group of us decided to try the Restaurant Krakowianka at the Cracovia Club. I studied the menu before I went as I knew I would have a problem deciding what to eat, as there was a lot on the menu I would really like.
The Cracovia Club commenced operating in 1950 when it was registered with the West Australian Soccer Association as a Polish Sports Club. Back then, the initial members formed the soccer teams with little funds and a rather uncertain future. Nevertheless, they possessed the insight and enthusiasm to develop not only the sporting but also the cultural and social activities.
The soccer oval, next to the Club rooms
In the 60's and 70's Cracovia won a second division premiership, and much of the local Polish community was drawn into the Club. In the early 70's, the first Club's premises were established in a completely run down, Salvation Army citadel in Barlee Street, Mount Lawley.
This was purchased and renovated by the members with all the work being done by volunteers who put in hundreds of hours of work to restore the building. Around 1978 four hectares of land were bought for $50,000 in Beechboro with the intention of establishing sports grounds, future premises and other amenities. In November 1988 the foundation stone for the new Polish Community Centre was laid.
The members again faced years of voluntary work slowly and painfully building the centre. During this time, the members lent the club $27,000, and over $37,000 was borrowed. After this was eventually built, the Club's function was to serve as a meeting place to provide assistance with moral and cultural support for people from a Polish background.
Polish food has been widely influenced by other European cuisines, namely German, Austrian and Hungarian cuisines as well as Jewish, French, Turkish and Italian culinary traditions. Often used in Polish food is pork, chicken and beef (depending on the region), winter vegetables, spices and herbs.
They also widely use various types of noodles, the most notable of which are kluski, a type of dumpling, as well as grains such as kasha, which is a type of porridge made from buckwheat. Their food also uses a lot of cream and eggs. Some of the Polish national dishes include:
Bigos - a traditional meat stew
Pierogi - dumplings
Kotlet schabowy - a type of breaded cutlet
Gołąbki - a type of cabbage roll
Zrazy - a type of roulade which is rolled meat with a filling
Sour cucumber soup
Filled potato pancakes
Schnitzel (both pork and chicken)
Makowiec - a poppy seed dessert
Polish red borscht
The Cracovia Club, as with most clubs, have a set of rules and these can be seen here. It is a very unassuming place with the dining room entrance at the side of the building.
The main entrance to the restaurant section
The actual dining room was quite drab and dark, however, I knew the food would be excellent so this did not worry me!
The dining room
Their menu is very reasonably priced with a good selection of Polish food and the menu is in both English and Polish. Prices range from just $10 for an entry with the most expensive main meal being $28 for the Pork hock or 'Golonka' as it is said in Polish. Most main meals are around the $20 mark making this excellent value for money.
I found it very difficult to decide what I wanted as so many of the meals looked so inviting! Should I have the potato cakes with Hungarian goulash which is goulash served on pan-fried potato cakes with a mushroom sauce? Should I have the cabbage rolls, which are cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meats, rice and vegetables, served with mushroom or tomato sauce?
Should I have the Hunter's Stew in a bread loaf bowl, otherwise known as Bigos myśliwski w chlebie, which is a traditional sauerkraut stew with smoked meats? Or should I have the dumplings serve of 8 otherwise known as Pierogi and which are traditional Polish pan-fried dumplings, with a choice of fillings, including:
Beef / z mięsem
Mushroom and sauerkraut / z kapustą I grzybami
Cheese and potatoes / ruskie
These were the ones that I liked the most, though there were also others that I would also like!
I finally chose the dumplings which the waitress said were first boiled and then lightly fried. I had wanted the filling of mushroom and sauerkraut, however, they only had a few of this one left, so I ordered an assortment of the 8 dumplings.
Mixed filling dumplings
All were delicious and the dough was lovely and thin. This meal cost $17 and had nothing else with it, so I followed it up with the Polish doughnut and coffee.
Yummy Polish donut!
The donut was nowhere near as sweet as our doughnuts, was very large, and was also delicious, costing $3. One person had an entree of clear beetroot soup or Borscht which although it looked quite plain, she said it was very good, and this cost $4.
Borscht, or beetroot soup entre
One of my friends had the fried Polish sausage or Kiełbasa na gorąco, which was two fried sausage with onions, potatoes and sauerkraut and this cost $20 and was enjoyed by several of the party.
Typical Polish sausage with baked potato and sauerkraut
Another friend had the very impressive Hunter's Stew in a crusty bread loaf bowl or Bigos myśliwski w chlebie and this was a traditional sauerkraut stew with smoked meats and was absolutely delicious. This meal cost $20 and was another great value for money.
A very impressive meal!
Several of the party had the baked ricotta cheesecake which had sultanas in it and cost $5. I tasted a bit of this and it was also delectable, being a genuine baked cake and not sickly sweet like many.
Baked ricotta cheesecake
The meals were served very quickly and the service was friendly with all Polish staff.
Cracovia Club, 375 Marshall Road, Bennett Springs
Open Fridays and Saturdays for dinner
Open Sundays for lunch and dinner
Very reasonable - average around $22 for a main meal
The Club is licensed with a selection of Polish, European and local beers/wine/spirits.
Phone 9377 5541
This is a Club that I would not hesitate to go back to, as I would like to try some of the other things on the menu. All of us agreed on this point and most of us wanted to try something else on their great menu, which can be seen in full here.