Cebu Food Restaurants

The burger that’s not on Big Tom’s menu and why I don’t want to share it next time

By on October 19, 2014

whenincebu - toms burger

They say that there’s this much-loved burger joint in Kapitolyo, Pasig that’s hidden behind a carwash station. I’ve never visited it when I was still based in Manila though. But at that time, I thought that the carwash + burger formula is a concept that makes a lot of sense.

It is the perfect excuse to go out for a drive on a lazy Sunday afternoon. At the end of the day, your date is well-fed and your dusty car finally gets some overdue love.

But such may not be the case with Big Tom’s Charbroiled Burger in Cebu. While there’s a carwash beside it now, I think that the many who have been raving about its juicy patties, which are made to order and then charbroiled to smoky perfection, don’t care much for that carwash anyway.

I don’t have a car or a date for that matter. But one of the reasons why I kept coming back to Big Tom’s is a burger that’s not on their chalkboard menu.

whenincebu - facade

Big Tom’s casual and hipsteresque interiors – unpainted walls, exposed ceilings and comfortable seats.

During my first visit here, I would have ordered the Deluxe Bacon. But then I saw a note by the counter with a handwritten “Portobello Blue Cheese” and its corresponding price. It does cost a bit more than most of their usual crowd pleasers, but looking back now, I’m glad that I changed my mind at the last minute.

whenincebu - menu

On my first bite, I immediately tasted the savory brine from the blue cheese. Some of it even wonderfully oozed from my grasp and ran over my fingers. And just like a song’s bridge, the earthy portobello came next. It surprisingly complemented and paved the way for the perfectly grilled beef patties to shine.

This beautiful symphony on my mouth lasted for just a few minutes. I almost forgot that I was with two ladies that afternoon, whose appetites are as voracious as mine.

whenincebu - toms burger up close

Friends, this is the Portobello Bluecheese burger up close.

“Hey, do you want to try out my burger?” I asked, while trying hard to conceal the reluctance in my voice. At the back of my mind, I honestly wanted them to refuse my offer. I was not in the mood to share because I wanted my burger-not-on-the-menu to be mine and mine alone.

“Sure,” they answered in unison.

So with a heavy heart, I sliced off a portion for each of my friends. I consoled my selfish grief with the thought that I got to try what they ordered – the Deluxe Bacon Cheeseburger and the Grilled Chicken Vinaigrette. Both burgers were also good by the way.

whenincebu - finished product

Gone too soon.

Why is the Portobello Blue Cheese not on the regular menu then? The mushrooms or the blue cheese (or perhaps both), I was told during my second time at Big Tom’s, are hard to source in the metro.

Maybe one of these days, I will get to enjoy this burger all by myself. By then, I’ll finally attain that ultimate burger sensation, a sensation that hovers somewhere between a near death experience and a religious conversion.

It will probably leave me scarred or changed. Eitherway, I hope that it will still leave me yearning for more.

Big Tom’s Charbroiled Burgers
Facebook Page
111 Juana Osmeña St, Cebu City
Open daily | 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
+63 32 239 8101

  1. Reply

    the broken halo

    October 22, 2014

    oh Bren.. am on diet why did I click this page… the cheese.. yum!

    • Reply

      bren |

      October 22, 2014

      Cheat day! Cheat day! Cheat day! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Kim Halasan

    October 22, 2014

    Who can ever go wrong with a burger. Making me hungry…. But all these Cebu food talk makes me miss those humble pay day grill adventures we used to have with the team.

    • Reply

      bren |

      October 22, 2014

      What was that name of that karenderya again Kim? The one where we'll have dilis and pancit canton during ting-bits? 🙂 Those were good times indeed.

  3. Reply


    November 3, 2014

    Bren… Let's do a food trip one of these days… Call the shots on the location…

    • Reply

      bren |

      November 4, 2014

      I may not be able to please a more seasoned traveler like you Nel. I'll send you PM in FB. 🙂


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

Best of Cebu Blog Awards Best of Cebu Blog Awards
    Best Food Blog
    Best Creative Writing in a Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

    Finalist, Best Food Blog
    Finalist, Best Travel Blog

    Grand Winner, Visit Davao Tuloy ang Byahe Experience Blogging Competition.
    Winner, 2013 TLC Asia’s The Layover contest
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