REVIEW: Rudie’s, Dalston
Let’s start by saying this place is fiery. So fiery, I managed to catch my cardigan alight on the ambient table candle at one point during the meal.
Despite the fact I almost went up in flames at this stylish new Jamaican joint in Dalston, I’m already planning a return visit for the meltingly soft meat and strong liquor – which is testament to how good this place truly is.
Your arrival is met with smiles as a small team of super-friendly staff greet you and take your coat (the venue is on the cosy side, so any unnecessary clutter is soon tucked away), before you’re handed a fairly short but perfectly formed menu, drawing on the owner’s travels around Jamaica.
Sure, there’s jerk chicken (and pork… and lamb… and oh, it’s all beautiful), but the embarrassment of riches stretches to golden, flaky Jamaican patties stuffed with spiced lobster, swordfish steak, a special spicy cheeseburger and the ‘Yard Classic’, a mutton and goat curry.
Seduced by the jerk calamari with coriander and lime dip and a patty filled with jerk chicken, we next found room for a Yo Man! platter – a pile of lovingly cooked chicken, pork and lamb served up with a creamy purple slaw so tasty it caused actual bickering over who’d be awarded the last bite. Sweet potato fries were crispy and light, a side of dark green kale aloo worth a return visit alone.
Satisfying for spice lovers but in no way overwhelming, Rudie’s has the perfect balance of authentic, carefully sourced ingredients (the heat of which can be dialled up with an array of awesome, hand-made sauces. The chef doesn’t believe in buying them in) and a laid-back, non-pretentious setting.
With meat that good, we expected dessert to be somewhat of an afterthought, but were highly mistaken. Jamaican ring cake doused in a shot of rum (and coconut ice cream – there was ice cream in there somewhere too) topped up the booze levels from the Katch A Fire cocktail that started the evening off – a heady mix of not one, but four, rums from operational distilleries in Jamaica. Since they went to all that trouble to bring it over, we’ve a message to you, Rudie’s – we’ll be coming back for another very soon.
Address: 50 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XB