A visit to Rudie’s Jerk Shack in Brixton Village proves that this Caribbean restaurant brand serves up satisfyingly consistent good tastes and vibes.
With several branches dotted around London, Rudie’s Jerk Shack based in the heart of Brixton Village feels like a natural home for the popular Caribbean restaurant. Perhaps anticipating the popularity of future footfall, the latest branch of the restaurant is Rudie’s biggest venue to date, set across two floors with eating inside and out.
Tucked away in unit 10 at Market Row, Brixton Village, Rudie’s Jerk Shack is dressed in their signature green. Internally it’s all chilled ambience, low hanging light pendants, cool retro signage and vintage photographs on the walls. On a freezing night in December, two hungry teenagers, hubby and myself honoured our 6pm reservation and followed our noses into the warm restaurant. With COVID-19 still rampant, we felt comfortable enough to relax as probably due to it being a Sunday night [a school night], the restaurant was virtually empty with just two other couples. After being quickly seated and handed menus we settled into making our choices from the one-page menu which listed the range of starters, mains and the option of a ‘golden, boozy’ Rum Cake for dessert, served with a rum caramel and vanilla ice cream. But alas, none of us could find the space for this treat. Having said that, between us we managed to cover the menu pretty well.
One of the restaurant’s unique selling points is that co-founders, Michelle and Matin Miah make a point of meticulously exploring local food spots and tastes any time they visit family in Jamaica, bringing back with them new ideas to add to their menus. The imaginatively named dishes, alongside the more traditional eats makes settling on what to choose a difficult task. Nicer problems to have, of course.
What we drank
Despite it being a school night, I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity to have one of Rudie’s legendary Caribbean cocktails and I wasn’t disappointed. ‘Jamaica Nice’ (£9) was a fruity smoothie made up of a blend of orgeat, lime, pineapple, strawberry and Kingston 62 & Koko Kanu rums. This cocktail is sweet with a good sensation of the rum running through it. Very refreshing.
Others in my group had the Island Love Fruit Punch (£5.50), a non-alcoholic delicious blend of fruits that avoided the usual issue of being too sweet.
What we ate
Regular readers of my restaurant reviews will know that I am bit partial to king prawns, and so it will come as no surprise that I chose the ‘Peppa Swimp’ (£8.50), king prawns and cherry tomatoes cooked in a hot pepper broth. This was so good. The four king prawns are served in a really spicy broth. Not pretend spicy either; lightweights are warned to stay away from this one. Warming and full of flavour bursting in the mouth. This dish reminded me of a Nigerian dish called pepper soup, really great for the cold winter.
After being reliably informed that The Macaroni Pie (£6.50) a seasoned mac and cheese was “so tasty”, I scored a spoonful (for research purposes) and pledged that this would be my starter on the next trip to Rudie’s. The crusty top layer of cheese and the creamy macaroni centre was more-ish with the right balance of spice and flavour.
Others had the Boston Wings (£7.50) jerk chicken wings coated in a choice of homemade sauces. The men in my family pride themselves as being chicken wings connoisseurs and gave the verdict that these were “Top notch, succulent, tasty, warm, sweet and spicy”! When offered the option of a sweet or spicy sauce, hubby asked for both, hence the sweet and spicy mixture.
How tasty their curried goat is can be a good yardstick to measure how good a Caribbean restaurant is and so I had to try the Curried Goat (£13) served with and Rice and Peas (£4) and a side order of plantain (£4). I’m happy to report that the Curried Goat was seasoned to perfection and the rice and peas was the perfect accompaniment. There was a good meat to bone ratio too, none of that bony mess. The portion sizes were hearty too, almost too much. The plantain was… just kidding, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with plantain.
Rudie’s Jerk Shacks are renowned for their ‘real jerk’ meats, which are marinated for 24 hours in a secret blend of herbs and spices, before being grilled and smoked slowly over charcoal in a steel drum. Testing this out by trying the Jerk Chicken (£12.50) and white rice was hubby and son 1 with Rice and Peas. They enjoyed the dish, commenting that it was mild in terms of heat, but had a good balance of flavours.
Son 2 opted to have the Chicken Wrap (£9.50), a grilled jerk chicken thigh, usually served with a crunchy red cabbage, lettuce and jerk gravy, except he decided to hold all the vegetables [eye roll]! He gave it a big thumbs up, although he raved the loudest for the thin cut fries it came with. I sampled one and agreed with him. It was crispy with a lovely dusting of jerk seasoning sprinkled on it. Very nice.
We really enjoyed our visit to Rudie’s Jerk Shack in Brixton Village. From the attentive, friendly waitresses, laidback atmosphere and truly delicious meal, my only regret? That I couldn’t find the space for that boozy rum cake!
Rudie’s Jerk Shack Brixton Village: Unit 10, Market Row, Brixton, London SW9 8LD
Call: 020 3971 6424
Tue – Thur: 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Fri – Sat: 12.30pm – 10pm
Sun: 12.30pm – 8pm
Visit Rudie’s Jerk Shack restaurant.