We didn't think we would be able to get over the idea of Rudie's. A posh Jamaican restaurant in a recently gentrified area, which used to house a huge Caribbean community, who have now been priced out. But then we took one sip of 'Jerk it Up', a cocktail that's more rum than anything else, with a sting of lime and a kick of pimento spice. It was a thing of power and beauty: we were sold.
After the cocktails, hit after hit arrived at our table. The 'Peppa Shrimp' - king prawns in smoky broth - was outstanding; incredibly spicy, but flavoursome, too: the sweetness of the prawn came through beautifully. Our only complaint is that we wanted more.
The 'Bruschetta' was a revelation. Cassava bammy took the place of grilled bread, coconutty sweet cassava, grated and formed into a flatbread. On top sat herbs and cherry tomatoes: the freshness complimented warm, rich nuttiness of the bammy. Delicious.
And then the jerk. These guys take their jerking seriously; the meat is marinated for 24 hours in a secret blend of herbs and spices, wood-smoked, spiced with pimento and then cooked over coals in a traditional drum. The result: a huge plate the best jerk chicken we've ever tasted; charred, thick with smokiness, tender and moist inside. The sweet potato fries were perfect, too.
There were one or two hiccups. The vegetable jerk wasn't as successful as the chicken; skinless hunks of squash, which tasted boiled and were a bit too al dente. The decor is achingly cool, but the tables are a bit too close for comfort; prepare to squeeze between tables of Coolkids admiring the reggae soundtrack. And they could have done something fantastic with the plantain chips: we were expecting a clever twist, but were presented with the bog-standard newsagent stuff. We could have bought a whole bag of them for the same price.
Nevertheless, this is a great place. Make sure to stop in next tie you're in the area.
|Where||Rudie's, London, N16 7XB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Liverpool Street (underground)|
07 Oct 15 – 31 Oct 17, Monday – Thursday: 12 noon – midnight Friday and Saturday: 12 noon to 2am Sunday: 10am- 11pm
|Price||£25+ a head|
|Website||Click here to book|