Pride of Paddington – Giant Chicken Parm

You win some you lose some, and this one I lost.

Having previously done their Burger Challenge, I came back to tackle the other item on their challenge menu, the chicken parmesan. Now, I didn’t actually know what to expect, since there were no photos of this challenge up until now! From the burger, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy ride, but seeing this come out I knew I was essentially stuffed from the start.

Described as “4-layers of the Aussie classic with a pile of chunky chips and a salad”.

You have 20 minutes to eat it all to get the meal for free. Lose, and you pay the full price of £25.

Undeterred, I wanted to give this thing my best shot. Of course, I went proteins first, saving the chips for last. The chicken was quite hot, but to my pleasant surprise quite quick to eat each battered breast. The chicken was covered in cheese that whilst hot, sort of helped get it down quicker. To my unpleasant surprise, the stacks also had gammon layered in between. Thick gammon. Dense too. As dense as I was at that point still deciding to keep at this attempt. About a quarter of the way in I realised this would be even more of a struggle than I had thought and stood up to help salvage some capacity to keep my pace going. Bite, chew, swallow, bite, chew, and swallow. No matter how fast I seemed to go, it did not seem to end, I kept pushing.

Now…I don’t know how many layers the usual “Aussie classic” has, but for me, they just never stopped coming. Whether the chef was feeling particularly generous with his portions or annoyed at someone ordering this monstrosity remains a secret forever at this point. The pile of chunky chips is more like a heaping flower pot, and the salad, well, that was probably somewhere in between the countless layers of chicken. I think I recall vegetables at some point, making me question “what is this green and red thing…this isn’t chicken…” Eventually, I reached the end of the chicken, cheese and gammon tower. The flavour fatigue took its toll. My speed with the chicken slowed down considerably towards the lower layers as I struggled with the monotony that are chicken breasts. In hindsight, I should have turned to sauces as soon as I felt the onset of flavour fatigue to keep me going at a good pace.

By the time I got to the chips, they had already cooled. This wasn’t the main problem however. Taking a few bites quickly made my mouth dry out as all of the starches absorbed the water in my mouth, drying it out. I knew I had all but run out of time at this point, making a last ditch token effort with the chips. If you’re going to go for this one, I recommend a carbonated beverage here. One, to help mix up the flavours, two to help get rid of air pockets. After I walked around a bit and relieved myself of said air pockets, I actually felt alright. So the challenge here is speed, flavour fatigue, and making the food sit in a way that lets you keep going. The food is dense, so you really have to make it sit well and be capacity wise to have a good crack at this.

The timer ran out, but I knew I had lost long before that. Still, at least I provided some entertainment for the late night patrons and was met with some awe and sympathy for this fruitless attempt.

Whilst I ran out of time with most of the chips remaining, I still think this challenge is doable, but I would not consider it an easy one, and would highly recommend proper preparation and tactics. Learn from the above mistakes if you wish to take this on successfully. Let me put it this way…two weeks later I paid Man vs Food a visit to take on their Chicken Belly Buster, and did that under 20, and that comes with a pretty cash prize, so you be the judge of difficulty with this one and whether you want to try it. If you’re still feeling bold or up for a challenge, you can find it at:

Pride of Paddington Pub

1-3 Craven Rd,

Paddington, London

W2 3BP

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