Driving along M. Paterno street in San Juan, we saw a cozy-looking restaurant with a bright signage bearing a cute drawing of a Chinese-looking lady with a bowl of seemingly hot soup and a spoon on both hands. Big Mama's Place, it read. Instantly, I remembered a friend who sent me an SMS not so long ago telling me to try it out because the food is delicious.
Parking is pretty limited good thing it was still early and we were, in fact, the first customer for the night. We were welcomed by Rey, the very friendly server who ushered us to our table and presented their big laminated menu. He continued by enumerating their best-sellers and even gave a short description for some. I was impressed. His approach was done in a very helpful manner making us feel grateful for his recommendations.
Trusting Rey, we ordered a Taco (Php.50) each for our appetizer, the Pork Steak with Java Rice (Php. 155) and Peppered Chicken with Tomato Rice (Php. 145) for us to share.
While waiting, Rey gave us a couple of magazines that we can browse through. However, Paul and I chose to just set the magazines aside and to just talk about how our day went instead.
Finally, our Tacos were served. You see, Paul and I have this
Imagine our surprise when each of our tacos were served in a small oval dish accompanied by a rectangular tray that has the cheese, diced tomatoes and onions which we can add depending on our preference. Hooray! No need to ask for additional plates! We happily crushed our tacos and added the tomatoes, cheese and onions in. The meat was very flavorful but in my opinion was a bit too salty for my taste. Paul, on the other hand, wasn't too fond of the grated cheese because he finds the taste too milky. (More calcium, more fun my dear)
After clearing our table, Rey served us our main dishes. The Pork Steak was truly a feast for our eyes and a treat for our taste buds. We both agreed that it was very juicy and soft. The Java Rice, on the other hand, has bits of green bell peppers and carrots. It is totally different from the java rice that was popularized by the Aristocrat group. In my opinion, Big Mama's version has a more oriental feel which I think is good because it doesn't, in any way overpower, the flavor of the meat making sure that the pork steak takes the leading role while it happily stays as a supporting cast.
Moving on to our next dish, the Peppered Chicken is sadly a bit dry and was difficult to chew. Although not lacking in flavor, it would have been better if the chicken was more tender. However, I would highly recommend this for those who prefers to eat healthy as there is no single trace of oil or fat on the chicken meat. The Tomato Rice again as the same oriental feel but unlike the java, I can hardly identify the tomato taste in the rice.
Looking around I love the simple interiors of the restaurant. The wash room even has this homey window display. While waiting for our bill, we chatted with Rey who gamely shared with us how Big Mama's Place began.
We were satisfied with our dinner and we believe that Big Mama's Place has a lot of potential to grow. The presentation was beautiful and the service was excellent. We will definitely go back to try their other specialty dishes.
Big Mama's Place is located at 155-B M. Paterno street (beside Quadrillon Mansion) in San Juan.