Which patois phrase suits Rudie’s best? Weed jam? Hmm, no. Fiyah bun? No, perhaps not. We’ve settled on irieshun, defined as ‘a feeling of good emotion or happiness towards someone or something.’ Co-founder & Managing Director Matin Miah heads up this Jamaican spot, serving honest jerk that prides itself in its authenticity. Alongside dishes that make your mouth – and perhaps your eyes – water, Rudie’s creates a kick-back vibe with none other than a sway-inducing reggae sound in the background.
Rudie’s is small, refined and candlelit, and is made all the more charmingly unassuming by the aforementioned reggae. You’ll find an eclectic mix of people dotted around, both in big groups and on dates. In addition, the long bar is definitely a cool place to hang out for avid rum fans!
You’ll be lovingly ushered in and comprehensively advised on the cocktail list and the one-page menu of delicious dishes. We advise that you ask for their advice, because it’s super helpful if you’re not one for overbearing spice! Checked on throughout your meal, you’ll be perfectly taken care of in the hands of the Rudie’s bunch. They most certainly know their stuff!
The ‘Katch a Fire’ cocktail must be noted as an epic legend of a cocktail. With a title that’s spelt as a fusion of The Wailer’s fifth album and a current New Zealand roots reggae band, the cocktail might fool you into thinking it’s just as harmless and as sweet as reggae music itself. Certainly not! Don’t get us wrong, this rum punch is absolutely delicious but oh so sneaky and deadly as the rum will creep up on you after a few sips! Not to mention the theatrics that come with it: a hardcore shot of rum fills an empty shell of a passionfruit that sits atop the cocktail, and is then set alight on the table – shot it at your peril! For a taste of a holiday in the sun, opt for a Jamaica Nice cocktail.
The batter on the Jerk Calamari is so soft that it practically falls off the flavourful squid and the patties come to the table steaming hot. For those unfamiliar with patties, they taste like the Jamaican version of a samosa. For the spice-inclined, opt for the Peppa Shrimp, highly recommended by the staff; or for a typically Rudie’s dish that represents contemporary spins on Jamaican classics, choose the Ackee and Saltfish bakes for the taste of sweet red peppers with soft, delicate fish.
The jerk is naturally the highlight at Rudie’s. If you’re a meat eater and enjoy willingly throwing yourself into a full-on meat coma, we advise you to go for the Ya! Man Platter, with chicken, lamb rump and pork shoulder with a selection of sauces and some slaw. You can tell that the meat has been marinated for 24 hours in a top secret marinade, and further smoked over charcoal and sweet wood. For another Jamaican classic, go for the Curry (Goat and Mutton) with Rice & Peas – it’s mildly spicy, flavourful and contains succulent, on-the-bone meat. For those seeking a dash of luxury with a Jamaican flavour, fork out for the Fresh Grilled Lobster with scotch bonnet and lime butter.
Do not even think about going to Rudie’s without trying that Rum Cake with Rum Caramel Sauce. Understandably, you’ll probably be incredibly full, so lean back, grab a cocktail and let yourself settle before tucking into this wildly sweet wonder. We’ll say no more – we wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Reggae-rooted Rudies is one for London’s foodies (the rhyme may or may not have been intentional). It’s refreshing that there are no overpowering twists and turns here. Rudie’s serves delicious, wonderfully charred Jamaican food that leaves you feeling giddy with its deliberate richness. If you want spicy, boy will you get spicy! And if you want sweet, you’ll get sweeter.
By Ashiana Pradhan