Shop 21-23 MacKeurten Aveneu Durban North
Call 031 563 0925
Open: Thursday and Saturday 9am to 11pm
Fridays from 9am to midnight
Sunday to Wednesday 9am to 10pm
RocoMamas is so head-poundingly noisy that if you are looking for a quiet place to eat and chill, go elsewhere. On the upside it’s perfect if you are on a blind date and dread the thought of the conversation turning awkward.
If you are, don’t you worry. He or she won’t hear a word say. You can sing the national anthem, quote poetry or recite the United Nation’s declaration on slavery and all your date will see is your lips move, will assume you are making intelligible conversation and smile politely.
The music is the main culprit. A loud, pounding and relentless rock. And not very good rock either.
It’s rock music because we’re called RocoMamas explained a staffer.
Okay, it’s not just the music. It’s the waiters shouting orders over the music to the kitchen staff in the open plan kitchen, it’s the kitchen staff shouting back at the waiters, it’s the customers shouting at each other.
I was with the younglings; the daughter and the son-in-law who are in their mid-20s. Normally the daughter would have said, “Oh mom you are just too old”, but even she quailed before the cacophony.
“I think”, mused the son-in-law, “They just don’t want anyone staying too long.
Which is a pity because behind all that noise is a great vibe and energy and an interesting and clearly very popular food concept – judging by the number of customers streaming in. RocoMamas is a franchise and the new Durban North outlet is its first representation in KZN. There are nine branches, mainly in Gauteng. I hear one more is destined for Gateway.
Nothing too fancy but bright and cheerful with orange, black and white mosaic tiling on the walls and stylish bamboo style lighting as the main decor features. Simple but comfortable seating. Extensive terrace area too.
The focus is on wings, burgers and ribs with a few toasties thrown in for variation. According to its website, its inspiration is based on a “ true story of love, rock and hamburgers”.
You can order your wings in fours, eights and so on, with a flavour and dip of your choice, R25 to R155. Flavours range from buffalo (hot) and BBQ to Italian parmesan.
Pork ribs come in different quantities, too, quarter kilo to one kilo (R60 to R210) with Uncle Jack Bourbon sauce being the most popular. Beef ribs available at some outlets
Burger options range from classic cheese to bacon cheese and guacamole and prices from R37 to R69 for a double burger. Options are beef or chicken. You can also create your own burger and choose from a long list of toppings, all under R10.
Ordering is done by ticking off your options on a order list. Cute.
Their beef burgers are kind of normal in that they are made from minced beef which are then flavoured and patted into round balls and smashed when cooked to retain flavor. Hence their name smashburgers.
The chicken burgers are something different. They start off as shredded chicken pieces which are then marinated in secret spices for six hours, then firmed up with flour and reconstituted as patties, which are then flash fried.
This we learned form the friendly manager who also revealed that everything they serve is produced from scratch and made in their own kitchen.
This all sounded so appealing we could hardly wait to order.
We started with a plate of classic nachos which were a bit underwhelming and needed some serious seasoning, R40.
We ordered eight chicken wings with BBQ sauce and a blue cheese dip, R50 and R5 for the sauce. Nice and moreish.
The daughter opted for a roadie melt with three kinds of cheeses, R33, which was on the soggy side.
I opted for a chicken burger with emmenthal, jalapenos and caramelized red onions, R37 + R8 + R5 + R6.
Flavours were really great but frankly the texture of the shredded chicken didn’t do it for me. I prefer to get my teeth into a succulent chicken breast. But it’s good for those with dentures.
The son-in-law ordered a rock star burger with emmenthal, caramelized red onion and RoccoMayo, R51 and claimed it was his best burger ever and raved over the flavours.
We ordered shoe string fries as a side – R20 for a medium portion which was huge and easily shared among us three. Except we had ordered two portions. Mistake. The chips were particularly well spiced. A winner.
RocoMammas was really pumping when we arrived and no tables were available. But they took our number and phoned when a table was ready, about 20 minutes later. Very slick and organized operation. Service from our very sweet waitress was excellent.
It was fun and different. The prices very reasonable and the portions generous. I doubt I would return. though. It’s not easy to eat with your fingers in your ears. But the younglings said they would go back with a group of friends. It’s clear that the concept works for RocoMamas, so good luck to them.
Surprisingly, for a place that size, there is only one unisex toilet – although it was brand new. Clearly the demand for it had left it looking slightly tacky with paper and water on the floor. Unisex is not a good way to go for toilets, guys. And if you really wanna roco, keep that toilet spanking and the music down. For proof see below.
THE SWEET SOUND OF MUSICAL MANIPULATION
This from the Daily Mail in London:
Tests, which were carried out over three weeks by University of Leicester researchers, monitored the effects of classical, pop music and background silence on spending.
They found that when subtle classical melodies were played, diners spent more than £24 per head on average on food and drinks.
When pop music was played, less than £22 was spent by each diner and without any background music the spending fell to only £21.70 per head.
In the same test, diners were spending over £1 each on coffee with classical music, compared to only 80p with pop music and 54p without any background noise.