Marjo’s… Marjo’s Pochero… Marjo’s.
These are the answers I get whenever I ask Cebuanos where’s the best pochero in the city is. Think of very tender beef shank meat that doesn’t need a knife to pry off the bones, your fork will do. Litid (ligaments) that just melts in your mouth and marrow that either you scoop with provided popsicle sticks or pour some soup into the cavity, shake and decant on your plate.
As for the soup, steaming hot, all the essence of the beef slowly boiling for hours (24 hours!) on end plus the other ingredients of corn, dabong (bamboo shoots), ginger, onions and some seasoning coming together for a very flavorful broth good enough to warm the belly.
But most people associate the old Marjo’s Pochero at the place where it all started, near the Capitol. As popular as it may have been, the owners sold the rights to a new one and disappeared with the change of name.
Last year, June 2012, with the prodding of friends and college classmates, Marjo’s opened at a new venue along Gorordo Ave. beside the QC Pavilion. And the good old Marjo’s Pochero is back. Still the same consistency. As some might say, it is the perfect bowl of pochero.
The new place is spacious with the open air structure reminding you of those Bali inspired resorts with its pyramidal roof. But the similarities end there. It is windy and cool especially that it is under a huge balete tree. With well appointed tables and benches, people start to trickle in for lunch: office employees, friends, family… and steaming bowls upon steaming bowls of the delectable pochero coming out from the kitchen and served on the tables.
Marlo Raffiñan, his mother started the original Marjo’s (a combination of the names of the siblings Marlo and Joseph), is hands-on. Wearing an apron, he calls on his staff for additional orders. He gets busy with patrons coming in, greeting them and sometimes taking their orders or delivering their food.
But Marjo’s Pochero is not only about the good beef dish which sells for P350 (regular, good for 3-4 persons) and P380 (large, good for 4-5 persons). It is also known for its tender yet palatable lechon kawali (P250) with its, oh, so crispy skin that make for that perfect crunch as you munch. What I do like about this one is that it has lesser strip of fat yet still succulent. Good enough to dip in soy sauce with hot chili peppers and vinegar!
Another item that is a must try is the crabmeat (P70). Crab shells stuffed with high quality crab meat mixed with cabbage and ground pork. It has no extenders whatsoever. So delicious that you’ll be scraping the shells and cleaning off the morsels, or order another one. There are still some other food offered here but I really enjoyed these three.
Eating at Marjo’s Pochero are those times when you just have to throw caution to the wind and indulge in good homecooked meals for great comfort food that you leave the place full, sated and happy.
Gorordo Ave., 6000 Cebu City
09228328502 / 09334547454
11am-12mn (Mon-Sat) & 11am-2pm (Sundays)