Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams’ flagship, which launched in Peckham back in early 2018, offers an intimacy that chimes well with locals yet also has that rare attribute of offering something not available in central London. While the former has helped the restaurant build a loyal local following, the latter has made their bijou Peckham spot an unlikely destination restaurant, with Kudu regularly attracting diners from all over London.
Much of this can be attributed to Williams’ clever menu of modern European cooking with a South African flourish that is both of the zeitgeist and with an alluring touch of the unfamiliar. Kudu is not a South African restaurant – of which there are very few in the capital – but rather it follows in the spirit of South African cooking, borrowing flavours and techniques to take the expected and give it a little tweak.
The restaurant’s hero dish, its Kudu bread, is one of the best examples of Kudu’s approach. Served to share with either Cape Malay butter and bacon or melted seafood butter and baby shrimp (or both), the bread is a nod to the food of the South African vineyard workers who would use the grape must as a bread starter. Kudu’s is a less sweet version, however, spiked with cumin.
Corbin and Williams both have strong pedigree – she the daughter of renowned restaurateur Chris Corbin; and he having previously cooked with Robin Gill, first at The Manor and then later at Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green – and their success is reflective of their own immense skillset. The pair subsequently launched cocktail bar Smokey Kudu, located under the arches by Queen's Road station, in early 2020, and expanded deeper into Peckham with the opening of Kudu Grill in 2021.
Combined with their Curious Kudu private dining space – a separate site located next door to the original Kudu – the couple now oversee a thriving mini-empire in Peckham; one with plenty of room still for growth.