Macho diners meat their match as Sydney eateries go whole hog with super-size menus
Illustraton: Rocco Fazzari
Feeling peckish? How about a whole chicken? Or a one-kilogram burger and all the trimmings? A one-kilogram steak, with chips? What about a pork-stuffed bun weighing a tasty 1.6 kilograms?
These are just some of the artery-hardening man-versus-meal challenges being offered around Sydney at the moment.
But they are nothing compared with the 3.5-kilogram ''Schnitzilla'', a massive plate of schnitzel that monstered customers at Essen Restaurant and Beer Café´ on Broadway last year. Owner Geert Elzinga came up with the idea after hearing about the popular American TV show Man v Food, in which host Adam Richman attempts an eating challenge every week.
''My family watched it and kept telling me I should do something like it, so I thought, 'Well why not, let's have a go'. And so we came up with the Schnitzilla - and it just went crazy. It was quite amazing.'' In all, 450 people tried - and failed - to (b)eat the Schnitzilla, non-achievers left Essen's ''Wall of Fame'' gloriously empty, while the ''Wall of Shame'' had hundreds of Polaroids of overwhelmed diners. The nearest anyone came to finishing was Sydney University PhD student James Heathers, who admitted defeat with 820 grams left.
Now Elzinga has come up with a new challenge - the Jurassic Pork -- which is being launched on March 21. ''It's basically a slow marinated pulled pork bun with coleslaw and chips. It's going to be a lot tastier than the Schnitzilla, for sure, and a lot more doable.'' But it's not the only big food challenge in town. Over at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel they have two ''Man or Mouse'' challenges each week. On Monday night, it's a whole chicken and chips and on Thursday it's a one-kilogram steak. Clean your plate and the $20 meal is free.
Manager Paul Blasi said the challenges were a bit of fun to encourage people into the pub. ''It's been quite successful. We get an average of about 100 people in on Thursday nights for the steak.
''We only started the chicken four or five weeks ago so that's a bit quieter. About a quarter of the people who try it manage to eat it all and get their money back.''
Not to be out-eaten, the Toxteth Hotel in Glebe Point Road has a $30 one-kilogram, four-patty, cheese and bacon burger on its regular Sunday menu (finish it and get a $30 bar tab). It even had a big burger bonanza eat-off with 36 challengers.
Manager Adrian Pluis said the winner managed to finish the plate in about 15 minutes, but the fastest demolition job was ''seven minutes and eight seconds''. ''That was a little disturbing,'' he admitted, and added: ''It's mostly men who want it but we have had two women try it. Though the one who tried it on the burger bonanza day was quite ill afterwards.''