I have been to “Moose’s Downunder” before. And during that first time visit I made note of their chicken parm challenge, and today I saw out my intention to attempt it.
To read up on my original visit to the Australian bar visit the link below.
This is 1 kilo (cause Australian) of food to be eaten within 45 minutes to earn you success. It breaks down to four large pieces of flattened and breaded chicken, coated gently in a tomato marinara sauce with carrot chunks and onion slices, and then topped with a thick layer of melted mozzarella cheese and a healthy sprinkle of Italian herbs. The cartoon version of it on a few of the posters, that hung on their walls seemed friendly enough. It had us optimistic of the feat before us.
My guest and I left work promptly at 5pm and rushed downtown to meet our 6pm reservations. When I made the appointment I was warned that we had to be in our allotted seats on the dot, as Wednesdays are particularly busy for them, due to their popular trivia night. When we arrived the bar was mostly left unseated, however every table was reserved with cards that either read names and how many there was to their party, or it claimed the table in the name of a group, like “moose knuckles” (this is an actual team name, and yes, I know what it stands for in slang)
We were originally given a table all the way at the back. It was one four top adjacent to a lengthy table? that was sat by a large group. They had finished eating and most of them were now standing around and mingling with one another in the open space. Agreeing to this table meant having to battle to be heard, and trying to enjoy being in the shadow of a body, where you had their behind within your eye line. And seeing as we came with the intention to film our escapades, this wouldn’t be the best arrangement visually or auditorily. So we inquired about a seat where we didn’t have to yell at one another to be heard. Our server gave us space at the bar to accommodate, but I was still unsatisfied. Truth be told, had I known this would be our seating arrangement, I would have made the reservation and the trek down on another day. Luckily learning that we intended to film our meal today, the manager herself directed us to a full four top table at the front of the restaurant. Here, we agreed to eat quick (it is also a requirement to beat the challenge anyways) and leave right after we were done. This was not a problem for us.
When the food came it needed a three person procession. It was literally a plate full of chicken and potatoes the size of a full pizza. Each server held one and needed two hands to do so. Another server came to take photos of us before the challenge began, and the manger returned to state the rules.
You had the finish your plate clean in order to win, and you had 45 minutes to do so. In that time you cannot leave the table. Winning earned you the $35 plate for free, a tee shirt to commemorate your victory, and a celebratory squeeze of their golden rubber chicken. We were even shown the latter as a extra push of encouragement. In general the entire bar staff was super supportive of us embarking on this quest. Many of them stopped by to give us tips before we started, like eating all the fries first as it is the hardest to get through later. And many more stopped by just to cheer us on. That in itself if worth trying the challenge just to experience. We also earned the attention of many customers and their admiration for even trying such a challenge.
To watch our attempt and get more detail in the play by play, visit the link below.
But when it came down to it, this would not be a success for us, a lesson we knew going in. There was just too much of the same one toned taste. Not even through the first chicken cutlet we were done with the taste, and beyond repulsed by the texture. And with this much food there is no way you can finish it all while it is still warm. Therefore the cheese hardens and the once crispy breading becomes dense and soggy from its own condensating sweat. The fries ended up being the one element on the plate that holds up from first to last bite.
Where we thought we had ample time to finish, the trick is to actually eat as much as you can as fast as you can, focusing on the ticking time bomb that is the chicken. Apparently the record holder completed his plate in 17 minutes. I cannot even fathom it. And the math doesn’t add up, did he even chew?
None-the-less this was another one in the books, and another food challenge that I am happy to have tried. I left my plate having eaten a little over a quarter of what I had to. My guest did better at more than half, although in order to get as far as he did he had to strip a chicken of its cheese and breading. Which turns out is a very bad idea, considering that if he was to complete this challenge he would have to eat spoonfuls of soggy breading as it was.
And although we felt bad for not packing up what we couldn’t finish to go, the thought of having anymore and having to carry it home was not at all an appealing one. Luckily our server was sympathetic, saying she can’t even finish a normal parm, let alone dare attempt what we did.
For those that dare, try and beware. And don’t deny your cravings.