Big Mama is a Korean and Japanese restaurant in Carlton, a short tram ride out of Melbourne Central. It offers a variety of superb dishes, presented in a stunningly creative way with effort and dedication.
Though Swanston Street can be rather loud and boisterous with the large amount of commuters travelling up and down and the constant stream of trams during the evening around dinner time, the restaurant is surprisingly quiet and relaxing for such a busy location. The noise is blocked well, and the neat and ordered layout of Big Mama draws the attention to the beautiful design of the small eatery and the decorations on the wall.
The staff were not only approachable, but quite friendly. When not serving customers they remained in sight behind the counter, still smiling happily. This positive energy contributes greatly to the elated ambience of the restaurant.
The menu contains a wide-selection of dishes of both Korean and Japanese varieties. Popular dishes are provided with images, to help the customer make a final decision. Dishes include Raw Salmon and Garden Salad, Chilli Chicken Karaage, and various Hot Pots which are all pictured below. Big Mama also has a small range of vegetarian dishes.
The food was served promptly, and accompanied with complimentary sides which were not expected. The meals were of perfect quantities, and did not leave any of us feeling hungry or bloated. A range of soft drinks and beers are available as well.
If visiting Big Mama, please note that they only accept cash for payments, but most dishes are relatively cheap. An average meal is somewhere between $15 and $20. It is a small restaurant which would not cope with larger groups at peak hours, but a group of up to six should be able to fit comfortably. It is definitely worth the trip down next time you're in the city, and if you're perusing for a lunchtime meal make sure to check out their lunch menu which is offered before 4pm.