Now, I’m no stranger when it comes to spicy food. Though I used to order a lowly Tikka Masala at the tender age of 12, now I’m depressingly far into my 20s, if there’s a Vindaloo or even a Phaal on the menu, I'm having it. I’m not bragging when I say this, I just want to make sure that now that we have that out of the way I’m hoping that, when I say that something is hot, you can start to get to grips with how hot that thing is. The Chilli Challenge at The Salisbury Arms in Cambridge is one of those things.
This bowl of fiery burning evil was brought out to me by the chef in oven gloved hands, containing 3 of the worlds hottest chilli peppers. Bristling with Carolina Reapers, Ghost Pepper, Trinidad Scorpions and topped with sliced red chilli peppers to boot, despite its relatively harmless “I’m just a regular bowl of chili con carne, I’m not gonna hurt ya, grab a spoon and have a mouthful!” this meal was certainly hiding something catastrophic under the surface and as the stopwatch was hit, I had my first mouthful.
Initially, the flavour was rich, meaty and the heat was subtle. I was enjoying this! I could hardly believe it, this is going to be a breeze! This wonderful confidence lasted around 0.45 seconds before the chilli had other ideas and decided that I was having too nice a time. The heat hit before I could swallow and it didn’t stop there. Every time I chewed wave after wave hit my tongue which was increasingly becoming more shrivelled and swollen at the same time. I’d explain how this happened but I honestly don’t know. It may have had something to do with the chilli extract they’d added for a laugh. Chile extract to the measure of 6.4 million Scoville units, and they used a lot of it.
Around 6 minutes in, I couldn’t taste anything. The temperature and the heat of the chilli had rendered my mouth useless for all but chewing. At 9 minutes I could barely do that and was thankful that there were just a few scribbles of meat mixed with the sauce that I could no longer feel as I swallowed.
You’ll have to watch the video to find out if I actually finish but what I will say is this. Don’t do this. Seriously, I couldn’t even make it home after doing this. Luckily for me, I had a friend who lived nearby, so I opted to take advantage of her sofa. However, I could barely walk so took a pair of your basic painkillers which promptly did nothing. I ended up taking the kind of painkillers that are supposed to help women deal with the stomach cramps after having a cesarean and, guess what, they did nothing. Sweet F.A. Ice cream, milk, lollies, nothing. My pee was spicy. Not my poop, on no, my pee. Nothing should give you a spicy wee-wee.
I spent the night with stomach cramps that lasted around 10 hours after this chilli. I repeat...