What: The fourth opening for the Peckham-based Kudu Collective, in south London, which has recently launched on the former Babette site on Nunhead Lane. As with the group's other three sites - Kudu, Smokey Kudu and Curious Kudu - Kudu Grill combines modern European cooking with a South African flourish, with this concept particularly focusing on braai - a South African way of grilling that uses only wood and charcoal.
Who: The Kudu Collective is owned by Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams, who opened their flagship Kudu restaurant on Queen’s Road at the start of 2018. The restaurant proved popular (David Sexton and Giles Coren both wrote glowing reviews in the Evening Standard and The Times, respectively), and it was soon awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. In January 2020, the couple expanded with the opening of neighbourhood cocktail bar Smokey Kudu, which is located under the arches by Queen's Road station. Then, in May this year, they launched Curious Kudu - a private dining space accommodating up to 14 guests, just two doors along from their original site. Corbin (daughter of Chris Corbin, one half of the hugely successful restaurant group Corbin & King) oversees operations across the group; while Williams - who previously cooked with Robin Gill, first at The Manor and then later at Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green - is chef patron.
The food: Open fire cooking is very much the focus here, with most dishes served straight from the restaurant's grill. The menu comprises of five sections - snacks, starters, braai mains, sides and desserts - and prices are in line with Kudu's other restaurants, with starters at between £8 and £10, and mains mainly ranging from £15 to £20. Smaller snack and starter plates include grilled potato flatbread topped with lardo and wild garlic (£6.50); fried pigs’ tails with honey mustard (£5); duck terrine with sauce gribiche and biltong scratchings (£8.50); and curry crab with avocado and paaper bites (£11). Braai mains feature both sharing plates and individual options such as cauliflower with caper raisin, goat's curd and kale (£13.50); pork chop with monkey gland sauce (£16.50); whole black bream with zhug butter roti (for two to share at £18.50 per person); and poussin with a acacia honey glaze, pink pepper and onion soubise (£16). Desserts, meanwhile, include melktert choux bun with candied kumquats and milk ice cream; and peppermint crisp chocolate tart with caramel (both £8.50).
The drink: The cocktail list features some of Kudu Collective’s signatures drinks (all priced at £11) such as the 'Smokey Kudu' with South African whiskey, Sonoma rye, vermouth blend, smoke; the braai negroni with strawberry-infused whisky, Italian bitter, vermouth, oak smoke essence; and a kumquat martini with kumquat vodka and caperitif vermouth. The concise 30-bin wine list focuses on mainly South African wines, sourced from family-owned wineries, with prices starting at £8/glass and £25/bottle.
The vibe: Kudu Grill’s interior design has been led by Corbin and A-nrd Studio, with the aim 'to create a sophisticated experience and a space that felt timeless and welcoming'. Raw brick and concrete walls line an open, 50-cover space with upholstered seats and booths. Deep green and burgundy tones, Italian marble, and holophane glass accents bring an art deco feel to the room, and a four-seater bar counter overlooks the custom-built braai.
And another thing: As well as being a private dining space, Curious Kudu on Queen's Road also operates as a gallery in the daytime selling some furniture, paintings, sculptures, photos and posters. Artists to have their work exhibited there so far include Danielle Jacques , Helen Dear and Barbara Prada.
Kudu Grill, 57 Nunhead Ln, London SE15 3TR