When we at the Guardian heard Britain’s biggest burger had been created in Purley it fell to one man, 11 stone of foolhardy reporter, to be the first to take on the challenge...
The Beast - comprising 6lb 10 oz of beef, nine rashers of bacon, nine slices of cheese, three tomatoes, lettuce, three 30cm diameter slices of bread, 1 lb of chips and a milkshake, the meal comes to about 17,000 calories, approximately a man’s weekly allowance.
Such is the owner’s confidence, any successful scoffer able to force down the meal in under an hour will be spared the £40 fee, get a free t-shirt, and win a place on the restaurant’s wall of fame.
For the loser, to accompany the humiliation of defeat, is a place on the opposing hall of shame.
Faced with this behemoth of a burger it would be fair to say I wasn’t overly confident of proving them wrong, but when I took that first bite of sumptuous pure premium beef, rashers of bacon, homemade BBQ sauce and quality cheddar I had no concept of how painful the challenge would become.
Such is the weight of the meat, owner Vas Herodotou had to especially commission Croydon Bakery, on Mitcham Road to make the 30cm diameter bap, experimenting with thicker flour to hold "The Beast".
The result is a slice of bread so doughy it feels like it’ll feed the five thousand and by slice three every bite became a challenge of mind over matter.
Ten minutes in I was filling up fast and as the half hour mark approached banter with an incredulous audience had been replaced by despairing groans.
The surreal experience was not improved when Burger at Blacks’ meat deliverer Jessie Arron appeared unannounced in full Elvis Presley gear to wish me luck.
Considering the nature of The King’s demise this wasn’t an entirely comforting sight.
Even the generous support of three passing teenagers, who polished off my barely touched chips in record fast time, couldn’t help my ailing cause and as the final second passed relief rather than shame was my over-riding emotion.
“Wall of Shame with commendations” offered Mr Herodotou generously but with close to two thirds of the burger remaining and a night of pain awaiting it was scant consolation.
To take on The Beast, customers must order 24 hours in advance – all I can add is don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For information about The Beast, and more traditionally sized burgers visit www.burgersatblacks.co.uk
The Beast stats:
6lbs, 30cm diameter bun: 6016 calories
6lbs 10 oz beef burger 8771.7 calories
1lbs chips: 1204 calories
Whole Lettuce: 0-150 calories
3 tomatoes: 66 calories
9 slices mature cheddar cheese: 912 calories
9 rashers of bacon: 576 calories
Mayonnaise, tomato relish & dill pickles: 225 calories
Total: 17,920-17,770 calories