Aaliyah Harry talks to Michelle Miah about bringing her Jamaican food back to the market she used to visit as child
Michelle Miah’s grandmother, a chief inspector at Stockwell station, used to march her to Brixton market every Saturday.
Michelle, and husband Matin, will soon be back in the market, serving the Caribbean dishes that they have been offering at Borough Market and Boxpark in Shoreditch since 2015.
Due to open on 10 November, they plan to employ local people and buy from local suppliers for a new Rudie’s Jerk Shack in Market Row.
“We can’t wait to bring our take on jerk to the people of Brixton,” says Michelle, whose roots are in Jamaica.
She says that she and Matin scoured the island for years to find Rudie’s signature flavours.
“Chefs in Jamaica were so supportive and wanted to make sure we delivered authentic dishes.
“We are so passionate about the food we put out there. We really do care and it’s got to be perfect.”
For Michelle, bringing Rudie’s to Brixton is an emotional full circle.
“From my childhood, to my teens and now, Brixton is a staple in my life.”
She reminisces about her grandmother, her aunt Dianne, and Millicent D,who was an MC and a key figure in Brixton nightlife.
“For them to see us opening a business here is just incredible,” Michelle says.
“My footprints from over the years are marked here in Brixton.”
She and Matin are recruiting local chefs and front of house staff. “We have always encouraged local young people and talented chefs to work with us,” Michelle says.
The Miahs will also be working with local suppliers to get fresh produce daily.
Covid tier two restrictions have brought their difficulties.
Miichelle says: “It’s been a challenge from day one for all of the hospitality industry. We have been hit hard but we will keep it moving as much as we can.
“With the restrictions it will be challenging because we won’t have large bookings coming through, we are also coming up to Christmas – which is a scary thought as this is when large bookings thrive.”
She stresses: “Safety is our top priority. We are following all the government guidelines to ensure customers who dine with us feel safe.
Rudie’s sharing-style menu will offer traditional Jamaican cooking “presented with a contemporary twist”.
Jerk chicken, lamb and swordfish will be the main dishes. Marinated for 24 hours in a blend of herbs and spices, they will be grilled and smoked over charcoal in a steel drum.
Alongside the main dishes are small plates like “Yardi” chicken and goat curry, “Jah Love” vegan dishes, roti wraps and a drinks list featuring Rudie’s own rum punch.
Rudie’s Jerk is in Market Row, with indoor and outdoor table service.
Unit 10, Market Row, SW9 8LB
Open noon to 10pm