FANCY being able to eat a mouth-watering burger, complete with chips and garnish, at one of the Borders’ best-known hotels – for absolutely nothing?
If so, you need to make your way to the Cross Keys in Kelso.
But prepare yourself, for the meal in question comprises a 1kg burger with a 2kg bun, along with four fried eggs and cheese, plus coleslaw and a hefty 1kg of chips.
Oh, and one other thing – you have to eat it all in 45 minutes or less without leaving.
The giant burger offer was dreamed up by Cross Keys’ head chef, David Whyte, hence the name of the massive meat meal – the Mighty Whyte.
The offer went on the menu at the hotel several weeks ago, but so far only one intrepid diner has had the nerve to take the Mighty Whyte challenge.
“The guy managed about half of it on Sunday and then had to give up,” laughed David, who has been head chef at the Cross Keys for the last three years.
“The idea for it came about when we were chatting about the famous Kiwi Burger, which is something they have in New Zealand. It’s a burger with bacon and eggs and, as we have several New Zealanders on the hotel staff, so we wondered if we could make our own version.”
David says the Mighty Whyte, which costs £30, is really designed as a meal for between four and six people and would be sliced up at the table.
“However, we thought the challenge for one person to eat it would be a good way of giving it and the hotel a bit of publicity, as well as just a bit of fun at a time when there’s been a lot of doom and gloom about because of the economic situation.
“It’s proving quite popular with groups of people. I have heard on the local grapevine, though, that there’s at least a dozen guys in the town who fancy their chances at managing a whole one all by themselves.
“If anyone can’t manage it, they have to pay, but they can take what they can’t manage home with them. So far, lots of people who have tasted the burger say it’s the best they have ever tried.”
David says that he and his kitchen team felt they had taken menu staples at the hotel such as fish and chips or pizza to a high standard. “We’ve now got great fish and chips and pizza and we thought, ‘right, that’s those sorted ... let’s look at what we could do with burgers’.”
As well as the Mighty Whyte, there are several different burgers on the menu – at more normal prices than £30 – including a Punjabi-themed one and what is worryingly called the Hell Burger because of the liberal use of chillies.
David says the Mighty Whyte is actually very reasonably reasonably priced.
He said: “If you ordered four individual burger meals that would be £40, so it’s good value. It uses local produce, including the minced beef, and tastes fantastic.”
On close inspection, the Mighty Whyte definitely looks like it could be the Borders’ biggest burger, if not the largest in Scotland, and David and his colleagues at the Cross Keys will be interested to hear of any others that could challenge their culinary creation.
“For anyone who wants to take the Might Whyte Challenge, we weigh whatever is left of the meal and that is going to be used to find out who is the champion – assuming there’s no-one who can eat a whole one,” added David.
“It’s a Civic Week Challenge – there must be someone out there that fancies their chances of tackling it!”