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What's the deal?
Normally, when a restaurant group expands at a breakneck pace, the food quality diminishes (see: Franco Manca). So Kudu Collective – owned by husband and wife Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams – opening five sites in as many years should set off alarm bells. Now they have – count ‘em – the original Kudu restaurant, the braai-inspired Kudu Grill, the gallery and events space Curious Kudu, and the just-opened Little Kudu, which takes the place of cocktail haunt Smokey Kudu in the snug railway arches under Queen’s Road Peckham station (which, in turn, has relocated to Chelsea). But this is a happy story – the group has only gone from strength to strength, and food is as good as ever as they expand into different-but-not-unfamiliar territory: a South African tapas and wine bar in an indoor-outdoor, continental-style space (only instead of the bustling sounds of a busy placa, you get the grinding wheels of local skaters doing ollies in front of the station). The original Kudu – just a two-minute walk away – is housed in a slightly more formal space, and features small plates alongside large ones on its menu. So opening Little Kudu is a smart move on the Kudu Collective’s part: switch things up just enough so that the concept feels fresh, and hopefully catch some of the Kudu overflow on a busy night. The space opens out onto a sizeable patio area, where a sunny day is best spent with their signature spritz or a glass of Stellenbosch white in hand.
On the seasonally-changing menu, the tapas-isation of the group’s South African cuisine finds it apex with braai-licked dishes like smoked mackerel served on a pile of rock samphire-sprinkled tomatoes, or the slightly larger format flat iron steak flaked by a neat cuboid of chips and red pepper relish. As with their other restaurants, Corbin and Williams’ cooking is colourful and considered, with just a touch of whimsy. Little Kudu is at its best as an alfresco setting for an intimate dinner, or a leisurely lunch on a balmy afternoon. We’re not sure what lands Corbin and Williams have set their sights on next, but if they keep this up, we’ll be willing subjects in their swelling empire.
What should I eat?
What should I eat?
The braaibroodjie is a classic on the making – a South African take on grilled cheese (in SA, the bread is slathered in mango chutney slung on the braai), Little Kudu’s version comes open-faced, swapping flimsy yellow cheese for melty Baron Bigod brie layered with smoked tomato chutney, then topped with a flurry of sharp cheddar and served in palm-sized portions.
The chicken liver parfait tartlet is the high watermark of Little Kudu’s deliberate cooking style: little flower-shaped tart crusts are first layered with a base of spiced pineapple, then piped with frothy chicken liver, then sprinkled with beetroot-red calendula powder and finally topped with mustard seeds.
For dessert, the Don Pedro mousse could cure any bad day – a lightly booze-soaked mousse served with a shattering layer of pastry on and a cobbled sprinkling of chocolate dust on top.
Why should I go?
For invigorating, inventive South African cooking and some outdoor space to enjoy it.
133 Queen's Rd, London SE15 2ND