If you have ever met me in real-life, my portly figure would suggest to you someone who can handle his food.
We’ve all seen the Man vs. Food series by Adam Richman. Food challenges of such gigantic proportions surely this sensible tiny island of ours would never embrace. Actually no. Time has changed and London being such an open city as it is, has welcomed food challenges with open arms. I couldn’t resist YouTubing some videos of them.
In no time at all, I found the ‘The Devastator Challenge’ at the Red Dog Saloon close to home in hip and happening Hoxton, East London. I love burgers and I had a bigger appetite than most people so I was quietly confident I could do it. This challenge was going to a piece of cake. I just needed to find a willing partner in crime.
In comparison to other food challenges I discovered, this one appeared ‘small’ in comparison. It looked manageable. Just look at this hero take it down like a regular cheeseburger from a child’s MacDonald’s happy meal:
To my joy, I found a willing friend to attempt the challenge with me and the date was set for early January.
I arrived at the Red Dog Saloon excited. It was my first ever food challenge and I was (naively) looking forward to putting The Devastator in its place and getting my 2017 off to a winning (albeit extremely unhealthy) start.I came famished having refused food the entire day. If I succeeded, I’d get a t-shirt and have my name immortalised on the wall of fame. Sadly, the meal wouldn’t come for free. Hmmm.
My friend ordered the food and we waited. It was then that the cracks in my enthusiasm started to show. The more I waited, the more fractured my nerves became. I fidgeted, relieving my nerves through random chit-chat.
When the food arrived, my spirit started plummeting faster than the British Pound Sterling following Brexit. I started to seriously question my life goals and what I’ve just got myself into. I quietly asked my future self to have a word with past self should I still be alive.
The burger was a towering piece of meat monstrosity. Six rashes of bacon, 200g of pulled pork sandwiched between 18oz of chuck steak (three patties to you and me) plus the usual tomatoes, lettuce and gherkin that no one cares about. For cows, The Red Dog Saloon is the last place they want to be (that and Argentina).
But I was still determined. I had a plan: I was going to assault the meat first, then attack the veggies, then the bun before moving onto the chips and milkshake. I could hear the roars of adulation in my head.
The burger was awesome. Thick, juicy patties covered in melted cheese and bacon. But three minutes into the challenge and I was starting to struggle. The burger patties suddenly felt and looked like the size and weight of hockey pucks, the smokey bacon tasted sickly sweet. Things were not looking good.
Five minutes in and I was staring despairingly down the barrels of defeat. I still hadn’t finished my burger, had not even touched my fries, and the Oreo milkshake which I had chosen was starting to mock me. The struggle was real. What would my past self, rash and confident as he was, think of me know now, a wreck and barely halfway through the challenge?
Ten minutes quickly elapsed and I was a defeated. A broken man, beaten by the burger.
Not one to waste any food I persevered anyway right to the end and remarkably finished the entire meal in the not-so-impressive time of 41 minutes and 34 seconds. Scant consolation.
Taking on The Devastator Challenge did not come cheap. The bill toted up roughly to £30 including the service charge. Like any sane person, I would baulk at the price and jog on. But I was far too keen to find out how I would fare against this monstrosity of a burger. I was handed my sorry arse back.
I felt sick afterwards and all the way home. Movement became harder than getting out of bed on a Monday morning with the mother of hangovers. It felt like stepping out of a boxing round with Mike Tyson in iron gloves. miraculously I made it home without throwing up. I shall deem that an achievement. I felt an A&E was the more appropriate destination considering my state.
Despite the complete annihilation, I am pleased I had done it. It’s an experience you don’t get to do often and I am pleased that this is another thing crossed off my list of things to try in a lifetime. I’m not sure if I will ever attempt something as torturous as this again….or will I?
Ever attempted to conquest this Everest of meat? Maybe you’ve tried another food challenge in London? Let me know how you got on!