Simple, honest Italian food – this is what Rococo is all about and has prided itself in delivering to the Hawthorn community for over a decade. From award-winning Bolognese dishes to signature artisan pizza, Rococo has always been focused on classic taste, fresh produce and the sociable approach to dining that Italy is known for and loved.
Rococo has become something of an institution on Glenferrie Road over the course of the past decade – a trusted staple for great Italian food nestled in the heart of Hawthorn. The dishes are at once classic and contemporary and are made from the best locally-sourced and Italian-imported ingredients by the enthusiastic team of chefs who make all of the dishes from scratch.
The Rococo Restaurant group has been operating since 2005. After opening their flagship restaurant on Acland Street in St Kilda to much success, Rococo decided that they wanted to expand and chose Hawthorn as the perfect spot for their next venue. In 2008, Rococo Glenferrie Road opened its doors to the people of Hawthorn and has since become a regular gathering space for many members of the Boroondara community.
“Hawthorn is really special. It’s a surprisingly diverse suburb,” said J.C. DiLamanno, the Human Resource Manager for the Rococo Restaurant Group. “Hawthorn is certainly very family-oriented and community-based, but you also have so many students from all over the world studying at Swinburne who have been welcomed to the community with open arms. There are also many backpackers who have found a home in Hawthorn because it’s in close proximity to the city.”
DiLamanno credits this diversity to building a great team.
“Our team is so diverse. You have people representing nearly every continent working here. Italian food really does bring people together on every scale, communally and globally. The love of Italian food is universal across cultures.”
It certainly has a way of bringing family and friends together over a glass of Sangiovese or a classic Neapolitan-style pizza.
“You have people coming in once a week, sometimes multiple times a week for a meal with their family, work colleagues or friends,” said DiLamanno. “The customers trust Rococo and they always know that they are going to leave satisfied because the food is great, and the service is just as good.”
Chevy Karunanayake, one of the supervisors at Rococo, agrees that the customers are always confident in Rococo, knowing that they can expect quality and consistency every visit.
“The customers are really close with the staff,” said Karunanayake. “The staff know exactly what the regular customers want. Customers will say ‘I’m here for my usual!’ They come here because they know that they are going to get what they want every time.”
While classics like the Calabrese D.O.C. pizza, the Handmade Ricotta Gnocchi and the Pollo alla Milanese are still on the menu for customers to enjoy, Rococo has recently been experimenting with new menu changes recently in order to accommodate more guests.
The restaurant now does all-day breakfast and brunch until 4PM every day of the year, offering a unique range of dishes like the Chilli Omelette, the Breakfast Pizza and the Acai Bowl. They have also introduced a full vegan menu which includes entrees, mains, dessert and even a range of vegan wines for customers to enjoy with their meals. No matter what your preferences, dietary restrictions or food allergies are, there is room for everybody at Rococo’s table.
“We are always striving to improve and adapt our menu to cater to the community’s wants and needs,” said DiLamanno. “Hawthorn has become very health-conscious. You always see large groups of people on their bicycles or jogging up and down Glenferrie Road. They are starting to really pay attention to what they are putting into their bodies and they are realising that certain foods like gluten or garlic might trigger an intolerance that they might have. Our dishes are made fresh to order and we have options for everybody so people don’t have to worry about having limited choices of what they can or cannot eat when they go out because they know Rococo has them covered.”
This also translates well for work functions. Rococo has been offering customers who book for work functions during the day an “express lunch” – where your office can pre-order their entire meal in advance, so it can be ready for customers to enjoy shortly after they arrive.
“Our express lunches are working really well for corporate functions,” said DiLamanno. “Office teams only have so much time to enjoy lunch before they have to get back to work. By pre-ordering, there is no need to wait for food to arrive at the table only to quickly eat it and head back to the office. Customers can actually enjoy what they are eating. We are really happy to give the office teams on Glenferrie Road a function space to enjoy time out of office with colleagues.”
If what the great Italian film director Federico Fellini said is true, that life is a combination of magic and pasta, then Rococo Glenferrie Road is bursting at the seams with enchantment.
Rococo Glenferrie Road is located at 797 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, VIC