Caesar salad $10.90
With croutons, eggs, bacon, parmesan and anchovies
Way back in December last year (yep, I'm determined to get through the back archives) we headed to Big John's in San Souci.
The Big John's Story, printed on their inhouse menus, began in 1985 when a small pizza takeaway opened on Bondi Road, Bondi. Initially manned only by Big John himself, its popularity necessitated an expansion of staff and a delivery service. In 1989 a family restaurant was opened in Sans Souci, and in 1996 another Big John's opened in Bondi, this one an eat-in restaurant.
On the night we decided to eat here, the Sydney skies had decided to put on a spectacular nightshow, complete with rain, thunder, lightning and a weather warning of hailstones. As we dashed into this cosy eatery sopping wet and decidedly bedraggled, the smell of freshly-cooked pizza was as comforting as a toasty warm blanket.
Despite the weather, the place was packed. Small groups, large groups, families, friends and couples were crammed around tiny tables. A queue snaked up the staircase but somehow we managed to score a table almost immediately.
The food? Well if value is what you're looking for, then you've come to the right place. The portions are huge, erring on the side of ridiculous. Our Caesar salad would look more appropriate on a buffet table. Put it this way: after eating a quarter of the Caesar salad, I'm almost satiated and ready for the bill.
Fettucine salmone $13.90
Butter, shallots, smoked salmon, herbs, white wine
and cream sauce
I find the pastas rather disappointing. They are generously portioned, yes, but the pasta is stodgy and the sauces are somewhat flavourless.
Tortellini boscaiola $13.90
Butter, shallots, bacon, mushrooms, herbs, white wine
and cream sauce
The pizzas are much better. Thin crispy bases are covered with just enough topping. The J's Special has plenty of meat and the Sophia Loren has big fat chunks of creamy chevre.
J's Special $21.20 (large)
Tomato, cheese, mild salami, pepperoni, cabanossi,
capsicum and mushroom pizza
There are plenty of pizza options available: nineteen on the menu and a number of blackboard specials too.
Sophia Loren $23.50 (large)
Eggplant, zucchini, olives and goats cheese pizza
Entertainment comes in watching meals arrive at other people's tables. A group of young Asian females do battle with their steaks, which look more like brontosaurus steaks a la The Flintstones. A man attacks a tuna salad with gusto, a mountain of greens that must be 20cm high.
There is also some food perving to be done watching the pizza makers in action, and admiring the cooking of pizzas through the glass-walled prep area.
We end up getting doggie bags for our food. Between the four of us, we probably managed to eat about half our order. The takeaway containers are charged out per box, but hey, my mother always taught us never to waste food.
Big John's Pizza Restaurant
502 Rocky Point Road, Sans Souci, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9583 1088
Monday to Thursday 4.30pm - 1am
Friday to Saturday 4.30pm - 3am
Sunday 12 noon - 1am
Licensed and BYO (wine only)
Corkage $2.50 per person
No credit cards or EFTPOS
Other Big John's locations:
Big John's Pizzas
199 Bondi Road Bondi, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9369 1233
Big John's Kitchen
211 Bondi Road Bondi, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9130 7166
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4/17/2006 08:10:00 p.m.