Let’s just get this out of the way: there is no dainty way to eat Rocomamas. That’s not the idea. The idea is to attack these burgers (and dinosaur-sized rib racks) with hands, mouth and face. You will get sauce on your nose and fingers. You might even get it in your hair.
“It’s all about getting your hands dirty,” says owner Victoria Mastellone. “We see people using knives and forks and we say, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just eat. Get into it.’”
Victoria and her husband Alberto are the proud franchisees of Australia’s first ever Rocomamas. This orange-studded burger brand started up back in South Africa in late 2013, but since then it’s expanded all over the world. Melbourne just got Australia’s first (soz, Sydney).
The bar has been branded up by the guys at BlackMilk (Sash Japanese, Ripponlea Food & Wine, Ms Collins). The theme is orange neon, rock n’ roll burger bar—oozing cheese, shredding guitar, and pouring big f*ck-off custard shakes that make your cheeks pucker when you suck ‘em through a straw. The opening has been well hyped, so now the big question...is Rocomamas as good as they say?
Short answer: yes. Very yes. These guys were one of the first outside America to do smashed burger patties, and daaaaamn they are tasty. You start with a ball of homemade burger, then whack it on a screaming hot griddle pan and press hard—whatever comes next, that’s your patty. The technique gives the triple-stack ‘Slacker Burger’ one of the best flavours we’ve had in months—gnarly caramalization, little bit pink in the middle, cheese pickles and mayo all over the place. It’s pretty awesome.
Victoria says the ribs are also proving popular. You can get these in pork, lamb or beef (“The pork is the king of ribs,” Victoria says), either in half rack or full rack. Warning: the full rack is Flinstone-level humungous. Requires a team effort, that one.
Round out the menu with the usual suspects: loaded fries, battered onion rings, mac n’ cheese pucks (basically a croquette) and a variety of condiments. The menus are based on a tick-box system, so you can easily customize and build your own stack. There's even a small selection of wine and craft beer. Veggos, be warned: options are a bit limited.
One last tip? The White Choc Oreo custard shake. Dear God this thing is good. Thick as two short planks, but doesn’t leave you gasping and groaning. Might just be the perfect milkshake. We'll take two, thanks.
“We want this to be the first of many Australian stores,” says Victoria. “We’re going to paint the country orange.”
Image credit: Griffin Simm