Restaurant Review: Rudie’s, Stoke Newington Rd in London
Located on Stoke Newington Road, a ten minute walk from Dalston Junction overground station, amongst various independent restaurants, tucked away unassumingly on a corner, is Rudie’s restaurant. From the outside, hundreds of people passing by every day, and I wonder how many of them are aware of the delicious food that is served inside. The combination of flavours in every order was surprising; from the cocktails to the lamb, to the scrumptious desserts.
On a cold Wednesday evening, the place soon became full with groups of customers mostly in their late twenties to thirties. The dimmed lighting, wooden floors and furniture contribute to the relaxed atmosphere in here. With tables for seating different sized groups, there are also bars stalls for those not wanting a formal sit down meal.
Upon the bartenders recommendation, I first had a Kraken Tea; one of their Cocktail Specials. Served warm with a lemon slice and orange peel, it was deliciously zesty: the combination of Kraken rum, honey and Pimento Dream gave it a beautiful spiced flavour, reminiscent to mulled wine but even better. It certainly helped to warm me up on a bitterly cold evening.
For starters, I chose their Ackee and Saltfish Moneybags. These were perfectly cooked fish parcels with red and green chillies, with a lovely fish flavour, not too overpowering but not too subtle either. It was served with a red onion, cucumber and lettuce salad, with a pickled sweet lime dressing. The sweet dressing worked very well with the hotness of the chillies. My dining partner opted for the Portobello Mushroom, with jerk seasoned gratin. A very generous serving of chopped up Portobello mushrooms in breadcrumbs, seasoned with the jerk gratin. Somewhat too hot and spicy for either of our likings to be honest, but full of flavour and heat nonetheless.
As someone who isn’t overly familiar with Jamaican food the waiter was a huge asset. He went through the menu and was clearly an expert on the various items. Taking his recommendation, I chose the Signature Real Jerk Lamb (cooked medium) with a banana and pepper sauce. Absolutely superb! The lamb was cooked to delectable perfection and wonderfully seasoned with the jerk spices alone. With crispy and slightly burnt edges, the lamb slices were deliciously tender and the banana and pepper sauce went incredibly well (if not somewhat surprisingly) with the spiciness of the meat. I also ordered some red cabbage slaw and rice on the side. The red cabbage was lovely and sweet and the rice had a dry heat of chillies, with kidney beans mixed in.
My dining partner had the new Boss Burger: two charcoal grilled burgers, smoked cheddar cheese, sweet honey mustard, red onion, tomato, pickles and jalapeño chilli. The two individual burgers (as opposed to one large one) was praised by my partner, although the meat was slightly dry. The mixture of flavours in the relish and fillings was very enjoyable though. My dining partner also opted for some Caramelised Sweet Plantain and Sweet Potato Fries on the side. The sweet potato fries were chunkier than most, and deliciously soft on the inside whilst being delicate and crispy on the outside. The sweet plantain helped with the spiciness of the burger although was marginally over sweet.
With our main meal we enjoyed two of their signature cocktails. Mine was the Jamaica Nice: a refreshingly sweet and fruity blend of coconut rum, Appleton, lime, nectarine, pineapple and almond syrup. It was thick with a creamy-like texture, tasting deliciously fresh and fruity. My dining partner chose their Governor General, a mixture of Blackwell rum, orange curacao, dry vermouth and Sorrel. Sophisticatedly dry, you could really appreciate the vermouth and spices. Served with delicate flower petals on top to complete the look.
For dessert, we were one again impressed by the unusual combination of flavours. We shared their Chocolate Mousse and Banana Brulee. The Jamaican Black River chocolate mousse was rich and dark, with thick, fresh cream and strawberries served on top. The sweetness of the strawberries beautifully complimented the bitterness of the chocolate mousse. The strength of banana flavour in the brulee was a lovely surprise, as I was assuming it would be more subtle but actually worked incredibly well with the delicately sweet brulee. The smoothness of the main brulee was exemplified by the perfect crunchiness from the burnt topping. The essence of banana and vanilla were very evident in the thick brulee. It was the perfect dessert after so much heat in the previous two courses.
The décor encouraged the vibrant flavours and relaxed ambience. Behind us on the wall were wooden shelves supporting colourful buckets with fresh herbs and two wooden treelike structures fanned out in the centre of the room and on one wall. Each had lights on the end of the wooden ‘branches’ instead of leaves. There was an impressive selection of drinks behind the open bar, with upbeat reggae hits played as background music, at the perfect volume allowing for diners to comfortably converse with each other throughout their meal.
This local eatery is a place for everyone to enjoy the range of flavours and spices brought to us from Jamaican. Surprises and delights await every diner yet to experience Rudie’s for themselves.
Address: 50 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XB
Phone: 020 7249 9930