The owners of Mama Rocks Gourmet Burgers were featured on the YouTube platform of one of my favourite international food channels, Munchies, earlier in the year. I’ve eaten at two of their outlets so far, the first being the food truck in Westlands which caused quite the buzz on the Kenyan food scene in the year it opened, and the second being in Kilimani; a rustic vibrant space with good music and a lively ambiance. I had however never really known the backstory of the restaurant.
It is co-owned by two sisters who grew up in London (hence explaining their accents), and are half Kenyan- half Nigerian. East meets West Africa on their menu and cuisines from these two countries and the rest of Africa seem to influence their dishes. Expect to spot burgers such as the Nollywood Suya Saga (suya is a popular beef mshikaki in Nigeria), This is Africa, Fela Supafly, Great Zambezi, Down & Durban and Djubalicious on their menu.
In the video, I watched them make one of their house specials, and I guess it made me so hungry that by the end, I was on UberEats ordering from their outlet in Rosslyn Riviera Mall, one I had never gone to before. Talk about being impressionable! They were spreading their signature Mango Mama mayo on both sides of the halved brioche bun, followed by grilled red peppers which apparently represent the red shuka of the Maasai, mixed salad, beef patty and topped with cheese. For sides, there was a choice of plantain, sweet potato fries and some good old chips.
UberEats delivered the burger surprisingly fast, in about 20 minutes, still hot and neatly packed. At Sh1,200, it costs higher than your average burger in Nairobi, and I hoped it would live up to the hype. At first bite, it was a delightful burst of flavour with a juicy patty, slight hint of chilli, the melted cheese and vegetables…I even tasted a hint of gherkins in there.
The fries looked picture ready with their even size, dusting of paprika and garnish of chives. The meal was accompanied by a small tin with mango mayo made with fresh mango, chilli powder and sugar, and when I was done eating, I scooped it out with my finger and licked every last bit…it was that good.
In the video, they talk about how they would celebrate when they sold 10 burgers at the beginning of their journey, but now they do 1,000 to even 1,500 burgers. From three employees, they have now grown to 70 permanent staff members. Restaurants have taken a huge hit in the past few months, but as things start to stir back to life in Nairobi, wherever you are with your dream of owning or rebuilding your restaurant…don’t give up! I have since visited this outlet to pick up an order- you can find it on the food court at the mall.