On the eve of my last day in Joburg this year I had to return to Roco Mamas for the burger. I must flag this review upfront and state that this is the third best burger I’ve had in Joburg.
First place goes to Sophia Town Lounge, Midrand and second place lies with the Bryanston Foodlovers Market. I know that neither of these choices make me seem like much of a burger connoisseur but in all seriousness there is absolutely no food better than a burger…except that amazing, greasy street food at Blue Lagoon.
Anyway, Roco Mama’s which opened a branch in Rivonia about three weeks ago takes third place and not just on their burger. The other two joints I love got their places based solely on the burger. Presentation, atmosphere and convenience be damned. Roco Mamas could possible hold third place purely based on the burger but the reality is that to do that would do it a grave disservice.
To give you some idea, I’ve been to RM twice since it opened in Rivonia. My friend, who actually introduced me to it has been about eleven times, it’s that good.
For starters, the place has a brilliant sense of humour about it. It’s bright, bustling and full of good energy and laughs. RM is not just a burger joint, it’s all about the culture of grilled goodness.
It’s all about customisation. If you don’t like the burger options they’ve made (I personally recommend the Rock Star), make your own so called “Smash Burger”. No niggling substitutions needed, just fill in your order on the pad they give you as you sit down.
Note that you have to order chips separately and unless you want a crate of chips, order a small. It will come with your burger presented in a cute mini deep fryer basked. The other options are wings in like ten different ways as evidenced below or ribs.
The only real downside is the distinct lack of onion rings, actually normal onions full stop. They offer this “unique” option of caramelised red onions. Let me just say, here and now, that there’s a reason we don’t caramelise red onions.
I’m a simple kind of girl, my burger needs to have meat, cheese, tomato sauce and onions that have been cooked (preferably caramelised or fried). Since there is so little going on, I can fully enjoy every element on the burger.
I know some people use a burger as an excuse to have the toppings, I’m not like that. I actually like tasting the meat with the roll and that smidge of cheese. The two “signature” items, namely the caramelised red onions and Roco Mayo, RM puts on their burgers tend to overwhelm the experience of the truly excellently grilling of their patties.
All of the above said, you can resolve to remove these from your burger, just ask. Even which the clashing of powerful flavours, RM presents a stunning burger. While you might (will) have to wait for a table since I’ve never seen the place quiet since it opened whether it’s 4 pm in the afternoon or a weekday, the burgers are always delivered speedily and perfectly grilled.
The so-called other reason to check out RM are the drinks. For those among you who imbibe there’s a fantastic selection of some of South Africa’s premier craft beers. More importantly, there are milkshakes. Don’t go for the normal milkshakes though. Nah, leave those aside and revel in the “G” Shakes with amazing flavours such as Cherry Cola, Creme Brûlée and Peanut Butter.
I’ll grant you that these are not fantastically presented but they sure are good. Rich, creamy and flavourful. A perfect accompaniment to a burger and chips.
Please note that the store is not halaal but does have a veggie burger option which is not to be scoffed at.
The Verdict: Grab a burger and some laughs with a friend, even if you’re stuck waiting for a table.