Still got your mind on grills? Then Le Bad Old Street is your guy.
Not bothered about BBQ, but still want something good? Have a peruse of the best restaurants in London.
What is it?
That fierce, ever-waging north vs south London debate never gets more heated than when applied to restaurants. South London purists will decry Hackney’s oversaturated market and big-money developments, touting Peckham as the city’s true foodie heart. Those who live north of the river are quick to point out that neighbourhoods in SE postcodes suffer many of the same ills these days – at least they can freely move between neighbourhoods, unlike infrastructure-starved South Londoners. And on and on ad infinitum, until the whole city gets swallowed up by co-working-cum-food-markets.
But we think the recent opening of Kudu Grill finally settles the score: the third outpost from the Kudu Collective (which also includes the original Kudu restaurant and Smokey Kudu, their cocktail bar in the arches of Queen’s Road Peckham station) is possibly their best yet, and a real trump card in the whole geographical debate. Set in a gussied-up old Truman’s pub in Nunhead, Kudu Grill is an homage to the cherished South African braai – getting together with family and friends and slapping a bunch of things on the grill. As such, most of the menu is cooked over an open flame, and divided into ‘snacks’, ‘small plates’, and ‘braai’ sections, all meant to be shared.
But before we get on to the food, just a word on the interiors: they are seriously gorgeous. Milanese designer Alessio Nardi created a space that at once feels inviting and private, by using dark furniture and low, mood-setting lighting to bring in the capacious dining room. There’s only one word for the velvety-green banquettes that flank the marbled copper tables: sexy. But things aren’t so sordid here that you can’t bring your parents or a pal – in fact, the dining room is dotted with well-dressed Nunhead families and their young, well-behaved children, breaking up the smaller tables of daters and friendly meets.
So, yes, the food – we’ve come to expect delicious things from the Kudu folk, since their flagship restaurant nary misses a mark. But, as great as the original Kudu may be, Kudu Grill is even better. The two-hander behind the Kudu Collective – kitchen head Patrick Williams and front-of-house Amy Corbin – now have enough experience under their belt to play to their own strengths, and everything on this menu absolutely smashes it. Flavours here are big, smokey and comforting: charred vegetables laid over a smear of soft cheese, piping flatbreads laced with garlic, and seafood stewed in broth all easily beat that styrofoam plate of corn and overcooked skewers you’d get at a regular braai. Things are looking up down south.
What should I eat?
Though the seasonal menu changes regularly, you’ll see some variation of the potato flatbread on the menu, and you should leap at the chance to order it – on our visit, it was topped with slices of lardo and slivers of wild garlic, and tasted like salty, meaty focaccia charred on the grill.
In SA, big, juicy, smoke-singed prawns are a beloved braai standard, so expect them on the menu here. Kudu Grill’s version – outrageously plump and doused in tangy peri-peri butter – are the kinds you’d hope to see at a summertime cookout.
The best dishes here don’t just come from the grill – the desserts are just as masterly. The peppermint crisp chocolate tart is a star: oozing caramel sandwiched between two crackling discs of peppermint pastry, topped with Hershey Kiss-shaped chocolate dollops.
Why should I go?
To be convinced you need to move south of the river.
57 Nunhead Lane, SE15 3TR