WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
- For the flavour-packed Jamaican food, especially the Jerk Platter
- Enjoy sitting back and taking in the welcoming and fun atmosphere
- To try their signature cocktails - and taste some Jamaican rum, of course
- The staff are friendly and helpful
A couple of weeks ago I walked through the streets of Dalston, enjoying the evening sun and feeling excited about the feast I was about to eat.
I have magical memories of Jamaican food as it reminds me of summer festivals and fun times. When I stumbled out of Rudie’s later that evening laughing and feeling wonderfully full with my lovely friend Sarah, we knew we would be going back.
As you walk into Rudie’s, you are welcomed by big smiles and the smells of great quality ingredients. We were immediately shown to our table and introduced to Hugo, our waiter, and guided through the menu. Hugo was excited to explain how the menu worked and what he thought we might enjoy, sharing with us the specials board and making us feel instantly welcome and relaxed.
First up was, cocktails! Rudie’s has a signature cocktail list with a mixture of classics for good measure. Each signature cocktail tells a story and shares with you the tales and culture of Jamaica. I chose an ‘Island Classic’ Dark & Stormy and my friend Sarah enjoyed an ‘Ole Mony’, which was a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, infused with Pimento Bitters to enhance the flavour of the Monymusk Classic Rum. With local beers, great wine and a section dedicated to Fine Rums, our night was off to a roaring start.
Whilst enjoying the Jamaican tunes playing in the background and as we sipped our cocktails, we decided it was time to order our food. Sarah and I had sat and watched food arriving at different tables, scanning the menu to work out what each dish might be. It was in this moment that it struck me what a mixed group of diners we were surrounded by; families, couples, people old and young. It felt great to sit in a colourful spectrum of people.
After viewing the flames rise from the open kitchen, chefs happy and busy, we ordered Salt Fish Fritters, Jerk Calamari with Coriander & Lime Dip and Ackee & Saltfish Bakes to start. The small plates were the perfect size to share with the dips arriving on the side looking clean and fresh. The Fritters were light and tasty and I had never eaten Saltfish before and I found it delicate and sweet. The Calamari is a must and something I would definitely order again with the Coriander & Lime dip packing a punch with a killer flavour.
Coming soon after was the highly recommended Rudie’s Special ‘Ya Man!’ Real Jerk Platter for two to share. The Platter consisted of 24 hour rested chicken, pork and lamb marinated in secret recipe Real Jerk, cooked over charcoal and wood smoked on a traditional drum. With three accompanying sauces, Papaya, Banana Pepper and Jerk Ketchup, and a red cabbage slaw, we were beyond excited when it arrived. On Hugo’s advice we ordered an Avo, Mango & Cucumber Salad to balance the dish.
This was the Jamaican feast I had been waiting for; and we were not disappointed! Hot, rich and sweet in texture, the chicken fell away from the bone and the platter was expertly put together. The salad was fresh, clean and generous in size and it was all enjoyed with a bottle of Casa do Arrabalde, Alvarinho, which was a Portuguese white wine that was bright and organic and full of juicy vibes and stone fruit.
Throughout our meal, Hugo was checking-in and asking our thoughts on the food. This created an expressive fusion of ideas and laughter. It’s fun to eat at Rudie’s as fellow diners are friendly and interested in which dishes everybody is eating. Sarah and I enjoyed a quick chat with our neighbours on the next table, who had travelled from Chelsea to try the food.
To finish, I chose the recommended Rum Cake with Rum Caramel Sauce and Ice Cream and Sarah ordered a Milo Mocha, which reminded her of her native homeland of Oz. It’s amazing how different childhoods on opposite sides of the world can share an old school favourite or bedtime treat. It consisted of Espresso, Milo & Milk. And Sarah looked like she was in heaven!
As we finished our Rum cake, two shots of Coconut Rum arrived with a cheeky grin and more laughter and stories unfolded. The Rum Cake was warm, light and sweet, and was a delicate yet strong finish to the meal.
Rudie’s is a busy and atmospheric place to eat and be with friends. The food is sourced locally and prepared in the onsite open kitchen. You can eat at the bar watching the food flow or book a table and kick back and take it all in. Everybody is smiling and staff can’t do enough to share the culture and warmth of Jamaica and its food.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Rudie’s.
Rudie’s, 50 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB.