I’ve always been a fan of Boxpark in Shoreditch: a haven for independent brands and up and coming trends, so it was delightful news when I heard one of my favourite restaurants, Rudie’s opening their 2nd branch there. Having reviewed their Dalston branch before and thoroughly enjoyed their Jamaican vibes, I jumped at the opportunity to check out their latest offering.
Boxpark Shoreditch is as East London hipster as they get, with live DJ music playing in their communal eating spaces and most of their clientele in the 18-35 age range. The arrival of a cool brand like Rudie’s to Boxpark is a match made in heaven. The decor is basic inside and the seating is mostly bar stools, but the atmosphere is undeniably Rudie’s with hip posters alluding to the musical greatness of Jamaica and the requisite mention of Bob Marley.
The menu is simplified compared to their original branch but they still have all their greatest hits such as their jerk chicken and pork. We started off with some peppered prawns and sweet potato fries which were both much loved, although the prawns themselves should come with a health warning. They were just about the hottest crustaceans I’ve tried in London as they are served in their extra hot pepper sauce along with sweet cherry tomatoes and avocado salsa. There is something incredibly addictive about the chilli they use; it might be burning your tongue off, but you will keep going back for more.
It’s interesting to see they’ve created a jerk halloumi burger which wasn’t available in their main branch, no doubt the clamour for vegetarian offerings from the clientele at Boxpark was deafening. It came with a well-sized halloumi patty which was much more flavoursome compared to similar burgers elsewhere, thanks to their tremendous jerk marination.
I don’t normally opt for a roti wrap unless it was for an extremely casual work lunch break when I don’t have much time. However, the Rudie’s version is as top-notch as they come: the pillowy wrap perfectly encasing their signature real jerk chicken that has been marinated for 24 hours using their secret blend of herbs and spices. The chicken has been further cooked over charcoal and wood smoke on traditional steel drums to achieve added smokiness.
It was unsurprising to find a throng of people ready for a dose of real jerk when we visited recently during the weekend.