IT SHOULD BE NOTED | ROJO ROCKET HAS NOW CLOSED DOWN – HUGE SAD FACE!!!
OK – that is purely based on my own personal experiences and incorporates the food, the atmosphere, the restaurant, the staff, the options to get there and home, and the entire package – mind blowing. This review was originally from January 20th this year and I am transferring it over from my old site. I have since gone back three times and each time I have loved it just as much. The title pic we borrowed from Sydney Live After Five, happy to remove if asked. Please accept my apologies for my totally shite photos, the lighting and my crap camera did not do it any justice. This place is a rainbow cacophony of joyous colour and wonderfully kitsch decor. LOVE IT
I have grown up and lived in Sydney most of my life. Ever since I was a kid my life has somehow been surrounded by food and abundant restaurants and Mexican has always been a favourite ever since me and the school mates would get shitfaced and pig out on tacos and enchiladas at the local Tex Mex in Mona Vale before dancing away to 80s beats at the local Rock Lily. But most Mexican restaurants are similar – a commercialisation of what American fast food restaurants imagine a Mexican restaurant should be. So low and behold how the hell is it I find the best Mexican restaurant I could have hoped for on the Central Coast of NSW at Avoca?
Easy – I team up with my recent foodie partner in crime, Bec. Bec and I used to work together at a cinema in Chatswood but I found out she was living on the Central Coast when I moved down there and also she (and her partner) were the only people who wanted to get tickets and attend the Masterchef pop up kitchen last year. And so began our little food meetup group where we could eat delectables, drink the divine and talk about food.
Our second meeting after Masterchef was a Masterchef feast cooked by me at my house on the coast for Bec and partner, Daniel. And then Bec suggested we try out this amazing Mexican restaurant she heard about called Rojo Rocket. You need to book a reservation ages and ages in advance so we made a reservation early last December and our booking came up this weekend. Bad Dan canned on us so Bec and I hit it up Mexican style.
But first I did the research on this place and was blown away. The Sydney Morning Herald Review stated “If this is how the Mexican’s do it I’m ready to immigrate” – I was sold. And then I discovered it was based on a need for traditional Mexican food and owned by four people, one of them who owns The Big Day Out. This guy, Ken West, knows how to entertain and that is a fact. Everything about the place is authentic, from the incredible decor, to the imported chef from Playa del Carmen in Mexico to the hearse that is the over the top decorated courtesy vehicle and drops and picks you up locally for a $5- donation. I was excited!!
Now I have to briefly digress and discuss the incredible kindness I am experiencing on the Central Coast. I am used to Sydney where everyone is closed and expecting to be mugged, robbed or just gang raped on your typical walk through the streets so there is never communication outdoors. Well trying to work out my “Plan B” for getting to and from Rojo I thought I would walk the 5.49kms to the restaurant and depending on how easy the walk was and how inebriated I was would possibly do the same for the walk home. I found an online taxi cost calculator that explained it would cost about $43- to travel 5.49kms in 7mins – BULLSHIT – it had to be wrong but I wasn’t risking it so the walking commenced. 1.5kms from the restaurant after walking in my nice clothes, nice blister-inducing shoes and it pissing down a man pulled over up ahead. It was on a section of road that I knew no way around him besides running with the traffic. My Sydney Spider Senses kicked in and I prepared for fight or flight or be stabbed. But this elderly man wound down his window and asked where I was going and why was I walking out in the rain. I explained and he kindly offered to drive me there as he didn’t like me walking out in the rain like that. Again my serial killer alarm went off but this nice man drove me to my destination and told me he was going to his son’s house for dinner and being five minutes late to get someone out of the rain was never going to be an issue – O M G – I have moved to Utopia and now I am comfortable the next person that offers WILL be a serial killer. A great side story I had to tell – there is still kindness in this world.
The place is HUGE – it is set on three acres of landscaped grounds and from the interiors I saw it was like a Mexican art gallery and screamed festive, including the wait staff in multi-coloured, “sunglasses required” pink patterned dresses. There is a giant bull statue in a fountain inside the entrance and the entrance, where you are greeted by the door man is painted in a HUGE Nacho Libre (thank you Jack Black for allowing me to know the name of that).
Every staff member I encountered was incredibly friendly. From the doorman to the extremely informative and attentive wait staff. They all knew the food, they all indulged in the food as they knew everything about it and you could tell they all enjoyed being there. When we placed our orders it was like “oh damn fine choice, make sure you have some of the seafood tapas, they are by far the stand outs”.
We settled straight away on only eating the tapas so we could get a larger selection of the food, however there is also an extensive a la carte menu – suss it at their website (linked below). While we perused the menu and yabbered on catching up we did this over Lychee and Lime Granitas that were a refreshing sensation. My only issue – only one whole lychee – I wanted about ten in there
We downed a decent (but I have had better) jug of Sangria with our tapas that consisted of:
Tuna Tostadas – three fresh tuna sashimi tostadas garnished with onion, avocado, coriander, creamy chipotle, soy sauce and sprinkled with tarjin
Rollos de Cangrejo – deep fried crab rolls stuffed with cream cheese and chipotle chili – served with soy, orange and lemon dipping sauce
Jalapenos Rellenos – jalapeno peppers stuffed with mince, sultanas, lightly battered served with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds
Alitas Borrachas – slow cooked chicken wings marinated in their own homemade agave syrup, mescal and chipotle chili
The waitress suggested we order four and if we wanted more then order more. The thing was it was served so quickly and devoured even quicker that we HAD to, in fact we were destined to order more So we then added:
Ceviche de Pescado – diced fresh water fish, slowly cooked in lemon and lime juice and served with diced onion, tomato and coriander
Tostados de Tuetano – braised veal shank off the bone tostados, marinated with chili ancho and topped with sour cream
After these six dishes I nearly exploded – they averaged $15- each and were divine. I could not fault any of them. They all come out under chilied and there is more chili sauces on the table. I found the chicken wings tasty but not standout, they need lots of chili to give you some kapow. To start with the Tuna Tostados was sensational – it was a mild pallet cleanser and such a tasty and clean dish that had taste inspirations of Japanese food. My three favourite dishes were #1 the Jalapenos Rellenos – OMFG – these things are amazing – could have just gone there and eaten a dozen of them. Call it the stuffed Mexican oyster food, purely exquisite and then #2 the Rollos de Cangrejo – those crab rolls were out of this world and #3 Tostados de Tuetano – the veal shank was melt in your mouth heaven. I just wish we did not have this one last as it was the heaviest of the lot. Having the Ceviche de Pescado between our two courses was a good choice as the diced fresh water fish was like a pallet cleanser and very refreshing. We just should have ordered the shank with the first lot and ended on the chicken wings.
And we skipped dessert, as such, as this place reached an all new level of cool – it has a tequila menu, or a huge section on the drinks menu and I spotted my all time favourite drink, which Bec had never tried, and insisted we sip on a Patron XO to end the meal. Patron XO is a top shelf tequila that tastes more like an espresso coffee than a tequila – it is blissful.
So ended our perfect food evening and commenced my love affair for Rojo Rocket. I got a lift home in the courtesy vehicle (with $5- donation) and the meal was a decadent feasting – we could have done it for a lot less but with a $18- tip we spent $90- each. I would gladly do it again – especially now I know there is the courtesy vehicle of which they also offer to collect you!
The place is out in an unusual spot but it wouldn’t be Rojo Rocket without being there – it is a foodies must and is so accommodating for singles, couples, huge groups (private sections) and a definite must to take kids to.
Suss out their amazing website – you will get an idea of the festive style of the place from the way they do their website and make sure you make a booking (but they also do walkins). All their details are online atROJO ROCKET WEBSITE. And finally – how do you pronounce the name of the place?? I swear you say the J, but Bec says it is a “H” sound as in Roho Rocket as you would say Javier, Havier. The conundrum I can work out next time
Please forgive the photos – not the best lighting for a shitty iPhone camera