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50 Stoke Newington Road
Bringing Jamaica to Dalston, Rudie’s is a laid-back, good-looking, jerk-focused joint. The smoky aroma of jerked meat being grilled hits you upon entering the casual, light-filled room. Two stylish, palm tree-like wooden installations catch the eye, while reggae provides aural stimulation. Dutiful staff explain the menu: bammy bruschetta is cassava pounded into a hard, starchy patty and scattered with salt-cod; mini patties contain jerk chicken, curried goat, vegetables or lobster; calamari gets the jerk treatment with a coriander and lime dip. We chose the ‘Ya Man!’ jerk platter, with chicken, pork and lamb, served with various hot sauces (and boy some of them are hot). Moreish slices of lightly spiced, tender lamb sat alongside super succulent chicken and melt-in-the-mouth pork. A rum cake dessert was delicious though somewhat pricey (£10.75 if you add a shot of £4 rum), while the bar provides fun via a stellar range of rums, cocktails (sugary, fiery) and international wines. The ‘tek it easy mon’ ethos clearly appeals to East London’s cool cats, as Rudie’s is full most nights of the week.
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50 Stoke Newington Road
Dalston Kingsland Station 660m
Rectory Road Station 758m
Rio Cinema 343m
Hackney Downs 864m
Sun-Thurs 12N-12M Fri-Sat 12N-2am
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 0
I have never reviewed a restaurant before, particularly a bad one, but the experience and treatment my friends and I were subject to in this place needs to be recognised. I'm going to cut to the chase and just spell out everything that went wrong:
1. Drinks took 30 minutes to arrive, and they got the order wrong on more than one drink. Didn't offer to correct the mistake.
2. Served my VEGETARIAN friend a MEAT patty, which he ate half of before realising (hasn't eaten meat for years). Their excuse was that the vegetarian and meat options for this dish "look the same".
3. They ran out of whole chickens. Seriously. At 3pm on a Sunday. So we had to order veggie platters instead. They told us it was our fault because we didn't tell them what we were eating on the phone. Even though they never asked and we booked 4 weeks in advance.
4. The chickens that did come were completely different sizes, some were literally half the size of others, and they expected us all to pay the same price. When we suggested paying less for the skeletal bird carcass they called a chicken they said they would have to charge our other friends more in order to recoup the loss!
5. The stuff that came with the chicken ("bakes", veg etc) was like eating a dry wall.
6. They were not serving their Christmas menu that was advertised inside the restaurant as "served throughout December". Even though it was well into December. Their excuse was "we didn't specify the day it starts".
7. The veggie platter was so bad it doesn't deserve to be recognised as veggie or a platter. Ever.
8. The "jerk" roast chicken did not even taste remotely of jerk. It was just a poorly roasted chicken.
9. They were happy to argue with us in front of their entire restaurant of customers about the quality of the experience and refused to take a reasonable amount off the bill.
10. One of their chefs started filming us on his phone from across the restaurant while we were discussing how badly we had been treated.
My friend's birthday was consequently ruined, and in spectacular fashion. All in all, I would avoid this restaurant like the plague. Having said that, if I had the plague I at least wouldn't have dined at Rudie's.
Food + drink: 5
A few weeks back I was invited to Rudie’s to try out their new Sunday roast menu and boy was I in for a treat! Just the décor alone will make you feel as if you have been transported to Jamaica. With posters of official street parties, carnivals and upcoming events in Jamaica placed on the walls and a selection of the finest Jamaican rums at the bar.
Although I was there to try out their Sunday roast, Rudie’s have a huge selection of choice on their menu. From small plates to plantain bowls jerk chicken, seafood, and yard classics.
For starters, I ordered the crispy calamari, which is deep fried in seasoned polenta. I was expecting the calamari to have a hint of spice to it, as I was in a Jamaican restaurant, but it was neutral. TIP: Squeezing the lemon all over the Calamari brings out the flavour.
I wanted to try out some of the smaller plates as starters, to taste what else Rudie’s serve beside their Sunday roast. I also choose the pulled pork balls, which are spicy deep fried jerk pork balls, served with a spicy mayo. Now, this had spice! The pulled pork is shredded inside and is full of smoked jerk flavour. The spicy mayo adds as a great accompaniment and found myself smothering the balls with this sauce.
The Sunday roast is served with whole chicken crispy roast yams, squash, sweet corns, bakes and rum gravy, which is a traditional Jamaican style roast. Rudie’s roast is perfect for sharing between two people. The chicken is marinated in authentic Jerk rub, where the chef places the herbs underneath the skin to boost the flavour.
TIP: I loved drenching my chicken roast in the rum gravy for extra flavour.
For me, the bakes were my favourite and tasted better when they were soaked in the gravy. The roast left me very fulfilled and satisfied as it was undoubtedly filling. I would suggest sharing between two to three people, as the portions are large, and add rice and peas to the roast, as it is an accompaniment. I was a little disappointed that the roast was not jerked but upon speaking to the chef Vernon Samuels. He explained that Rudie’s serve many Jerk style dishes and they wanted to offer a plain roast with a hint of Jamaican influence.
Samuel’s gave me a tour of Rudie’s authentic drums where they make the Jerk chicken and explained how Rudie’s smoke their Jerk dishes, giving their poultry a genuine jerk taste. I was able to sample some of their Jamaican jerk chicken, which is cooked to perfection and is a reminder of authentic Jamaican cuisine.
Now, what is a Jamaican restaurant if rum is not involved? Be prepared as Rudie’s have a fine selection of Rum and Rum cocktails. My cocktail of choice was Jamaica Nice, which is a fruity boozy smoothie, which consists of Almond syrup, lime, nectarine, pineapple, Appleton rum and coconut rum. Sitting at the window, with the sun shining on my eyes, and beating down on my skin, I was imagining that I had been swept away to the Jamaica for that moment, as the cocktail taste like your on holiday in the islands. This cocktail is sweet!
Food + drink: 4
Rudie's, how should I start.
It's the type restaurant that you could easily pass without a second glance but you would be wrong to do so. Although the exterior does not say very much in the way of stand out and slap me in the face - don't pass me by - you'd be very wrong not to go inside!
The decor is simple but the two wooden light features that reminded me of coconut palms are very striking. The restaurant has a relaxed and easy ambiance and we were greeted almost immediately on entering and shown to our table. Menus were brought and we were given a few minutes to make our choices.
My husband had spicy chicken wings, I had the spicy prawns. These were accompanied by festival and my prawns were on a bed of green leaves. Both dishes were really, really spicy so if you don't like hot, you will need to let the chef know or check whether they do a mild dish. Both dishes were very tasty and although I am not a fan of extra spicy I really enjoyed my prawns and my husband polished of his chicken wings!
For our main I had, shoulder of pork accompanied by sweet potato fries. My husband had sword fish steaks with a side salad and festival. Our meals arrived on wooden platters with sides in small pails. We were offered plates but we declined. The pork was very tasty but I have to say I was not impressed with the mild banana sauce that accompanied it. It did not compliment the pork which was excellent. It melted in your mouth and was not fatty! The fries were crisp and hot. The festivals were different to what I am used to but as my husband always says 'it can eat'. My husband's only complaint about his meal was that it was not enough, he felt the size of the swordfish steaks were too small, he said 3 would have suited him fine.
We had one small issue with our meal that was rectified very quickly. On the evening we visited the swordfish meal had a special promotion, it came with a glass of wine. My husband did not receive the wine with his meal so the cost of one of our drinks was deducted from the meal to make up for the omission.
We had a lovely evening and would recommend this establishment and it's friendly staff for somewhere to have a delicious meal. Oh, and the service was quick we did not have to wait long between courses and they also do takeout!
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