I’M a big fan of eating. I’ve always liked the fact that it is one of my few hobbies that also qualifies as being essential.
When the Lurgan Mail was set an eating challenge this week I was never so glad that Clint had moved on to pastures new otherwise I wouldn’t have got a look in.
With Clint away I was the next logical choice to take on the 15-piece ‘Belly Buster’ Fry challenge laid down by the owner of the Mourne Road Chippy.
I’ve never fancied myself as a food critic but when it comes to making large quantities of food disappear I’m ‘Yer man’.
I was told similar challenges take place in a television programme called Man v Food, but having never seen the show I was none the wiser as to how to approach this challenge.
I tweeted Adam Richman (the ‘Man’ element from Man v Food) for advice but he was probably too busy eating to reply.
I approached the task at hand with the nervous excitement of a goalkeeper making his debut at Wembley. I was confident, but wary that just one small misjudgment could leave me with egg on my face.
My tactics were: put food in mouth, chew, swallow, repeat until plate is clear.
My only stipulation, a little fetish of mine when eating a fry, is to have one small piece of each item skewered on the fork for the final mouthful. With the 15-piece fry this meant 12 individual items, which raised a further dilemma, would the fork be big enough?
Upon arrival at the eatery on Tuesday morning John Dickson, the manager of Mourne Road Chippy, took one look at me and said, “This shouldn’t be a problem for you”. I took it as a compliment, backhanded as it may have been.
When the 15-piece fry was set down in front of me my confidence remained high.
The Belly Buster contained two sausages, two bits of bacon, two fried eggs, one piece of soda bread, one piece of potato bread, a pancake, a hash brown, a tomato, black pudding, white pudding, mushrooms and baked beans. It also includes unlimited refills of tea or coffee. All for a cost of £4.99.
John said: “Everybody has different opinions on what constitutes a fry. My attitude is to give the customers the whole lot and let them decide if they want to leave any ingredients out. I’d rather have that than give them a seven-piece fry and make them pay extra for additional items.”
It took me 15 minutes to demolish the Belly Buster, three minutes of which involved me trying to balance a piece of each individual item on the fork for the final mouthful.
I was tempted to lick the plate, but thought better of it considering our photographer was hovering nearby.
It was a mighty fine fry which I would thoroughly recommend to eating enthusiasts of all skill levels. For gorbs like me it proves a worthy but not unbeatable challenge. For moderate eaters I suggest going halfers with a friend.
As well as the Belly Busting breakfast, the Mourne Road Chippy also boasts a Hangover Special - a burger with hash brown, sausage, bacon, tomato, onions and cheese, topped with fried egg and a choice of sauce - either Thousand Island, pepper or curry.
John said the emphasis was on value for money and he wanted to give people a good feed without breaking the bank.
The Mourne Road Chippy is open for breakfast every morning at 10am for anyone wishing to have a go at the Belly Buster or sample any of the other items on the menu.