The wonder of food is that with just one morsel you can be transported to any corner of the globe. Earlier this month, we were getting unmistakable Caribbean vibes when we dined at Rudie’s, in the heart of Dalston, London.
Arguably the foodie capital of the world, London is bursting with restaurants serving every imaginable cuisine, and it’s getting harder and harder to impress diners whose palates are increasingly sophisticated and can detect an unauthentic dish a mile away. Rudie’s, based in trendy Stoke Newington Road, sits on an impressive corner plot and as soon as my family and I walked in for a late Sunday lunch, we knew we would be getting the full Jamaican experience.
The restaurant ranges across two floors, with the ground floor, where we were seated, offering a bright and busy atmosphere. Even before we were shown our seats by Ashley, our friendly and helpful waitress, my eyes were drawn to the lively and colourful signage of past events no doubt held at the venue, “Mr Want It All”, “Mi na sell out mi friend dem” and my favourite, “Gal come dash out di ting”!. Alongside this display rests an impressive looking bar where an assortment of rum and other spirits beckon.
From the ornate light fixture in the centre of the room, which looked like a plantain tree, to the quirky “Gyal” and “Bwoy” signage leading to the toilets, there was a chilled ambiance to Rudie’s which I liked a lot.
By chance, the restaurant had recently launched their Bottomless Rum Punch Brunch, which takes place every weekend between 12-4pm. Guests who order off the weekend brunch menu can enjoy Rudie’s take on rum punch, which uses Appleton Estate Special Gold Dark Rum – a stalwart in the rum game who have been distilling for over 300 years.
I have come to terms with the fact that going outing out with hubby and the kids will never be a straightforward affair when it comes to being adventurous, but Ashley, our waitress stepped in and carefully described the dishes and their ingredients, before giving her recommendations.
We decided to order off the main menu, which was made up of small plates (starters), an assortment of Jerk meats, burgers and wraps, seafood, desserts and a range of sides. Between us, we chose a good mix of options, (for the purposes of offering a comprehensive review of course).
The arrival of our drinks was quick. I ordered a Dancehall Queen cocktail (£9.50) which was pleasant, both sweet and sour, just how I like it. Think passion fruit and fresh lime with a shot of rum with foam lacing the rim. Delicious.
After that, everything was a blur (not caused by the alcohol I hasten to add!), with our food arriving in quick succession. What followed was an enjoyable culinary experience with all of us silently devouring the food in front of us.
So, what’s the verdict?
Peppered shrimp with spinach (£8.50). These giant, full-flavoured chunky shrimps were a delight. I particularly loved the pepper sauce it came with. It was also served with a sweet dumpling.
Boston Wings (£6.50). These were a hit with my boys. Both sticky, sweet and spicy at the same time. No matter what restaurant we go to, chicken wings always manage to end up on our table, so we like to think of ourselves as experts, and these certainly got the thumbs up from my very own ‘chicken connoisseurs’.
Double beef patty “Boss Burger” (£10.50). This was an impressive looking burger, tall and bursting with gherkins, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and a special sauce. My son ordered this and he reported that it was spicy in a good way and gave it 4.7 out of five!
Yeah Mon! Jerk Platter (£29.50). A very impressive looking plate. Piled high with an assortment of meats (usually chicken, pork and lamb, but we substituted the pork for more chicken). Easily feeds four hungry individuals. For us the standout star was the lamb, moist and full of the lovely jerk seasoning. You choose side dishes separately.
Yardi, Bone-in Curry Goat (£9.50). This was my main and by far it was the best curried goat I’ve had in a very long time. Spicy and with just the right amount of curry seasoning. This dish comes with white rice, but I substituted it with rice and peas, which was perfectly cooked. Everything was also generously proportioned.
Avocado & Papaya Salad (£4.50). Being adventurous pays as this was a combination I hadn’t had before, and full disclosure, I have tried to recreate it at home since then! Two of my favourite fruit, along with the extra brownie point of eating a salad? You can’t go wrong. I found the salad extremely refreshing and the portion was big portion too.
Fried Plaintain (£4.50). Exactly the right kind of ripe. Deliciously sweet. Enough said!
I don’t know if you can tell that we really enjoyed our visit to Rudie’s. The overall dining experience was lovely. Staff were friendly and attentive and there was a great buzzy atmosphere. Coupled with the delicious food and reasonable prices, make no mistake, we’ll be back.
I give Rudie’s 4.8 stars out of five.
50 Stoke Newington Road,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 020 7249 9930
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