Humankind’s relationship with fire goes way back. It gave the caveman dining options outside of raw goat, the world’s biggest festival flop a name, and it gave us all the perfect emoji to send to that fit graphic designer when it’s 4am, you’re on the bus in the wrong direction, and is it just us or is that fox looking at you weird? Just an example, never happened to us. Importantly, fire has also given us Kudu Grill. Or rather, Kudu Grill has given us fire in the form of a braai restaurant that understands exactly what you need for a sophisticated yet entirely cool meal in London.
This moody exposed brick and green velvet haven is the fourth instalment from Kudu, a South African mini chain that is steadily taking over south London one biltong convert at a time. And trust us, with this, biltong world domination could be within reach - Kudu’s biltong’s inevitable run for the 2024 presidency gets our vote. It’s the kind of salty carnivorous snack that will make you crave an ice cold pint and, coincidentally, is the perfect way to kick off a meal here. You’re then going to follow that up with trout roe dressed oysters. Yes, biltong to oysters. That’s right, baby. You’re at Kudu Grill now and they move seamlessly from comfort to pure class. Importantly, it’s all deeply, deeply satisfying.
Now, we could continue to merrily crack out some serious hyperbolic declarations about the food here but the important thing is not to get too attached to any of it. Kudu Grill has - if you’re in the habit of playing London Restaurant Buzzword Bingo then eyes down because we’re about to call a classic - a seasonal menu. Some of their signature dishes stay, but the menu chops and changes regularly, which we love, because it’s the perfect excuse to come back again, and again, and again. And then again, because realistically that chocolate peppermint tart isn’t going to eat itself.
A converted Truman’s pub with green leather everywhere, vintage light fittings, and an aura of glorious artsy-fartsy house party, it’s a space that is downright addictive. The rest of London seems to have found this out too. Every time we’ve come here we’ve seen an achingly cool clientele who have made the pilgrimage to Nunhead to sit at the bar and get as schmoozy as the peri peri butter that comes with the prawns. You know, the kind of Londoner who looks somewhat artistically distressed, smokes roll-ups, but is clearly no stranger to the Aesop Révérence hand soap. Wear a nice jacket, order the might-actually-permanently-ghost-the-negroni-for-you vermouth Smokey Kudu cocktail, and for one night only, you could be one of them.
Yes, Kudu Grill is a restaurant where prices can stack up quick. But it will instil confidence and serve you unforgettable food straight from the flames of that sleek open kitchen, both of which make it perfect for that third date where you’re looking to up the ‘heat’ (wink wink, nudge nudge). It's also a perfect excuse to crack out those new boots for a classy catch-up. In all honesty, for the first time since discovering our first grey hair we’re actually willing our birthday to come around quicker so that we can have a grown-up dinner here with a bottle of South African merlot and those friends who will let you live your luxurious fantasy without mentioning your inevitable impending hangover. It’s BBQ done sexy, in a setting that will make you feel sexy too. Kudu Grill is loud, proud, and bold enough to rebrand mashed potato as ‘pomme purée with crispy chicken skins’. Insert fire emoji here.
We all must ask ourselves who is the farmer they speak of? Are they single? Would they perhaps enjoy hand feeding us spicy biltong? Yes, we will wed for easy access to this ultimate beer sidekick. Spicy enough to clear out your sinuses, get this for the table to merrily pick at between courses and as the ultimate excuse to order another refreshing bev.
One little piggy went to market, one little piggy stayed at home, and one little piggy had its tail turned into an incredibly delightful crispy snack covered in honey mustard. Will have you going wee wee wee all the way home.
n.b. This restaurant review food rundown may or may not have been written following the consumption of three of Kudu Grill’s vermouth-packed cocktails. We regret nothing.
A compelling argument for never eating prawns without the company of peri peri butter ever, ever again. Do not skip the prawns.
Where are you right now? Office? Home? Sitting in that mythical corner of your flat where you get good wifi that you refer to as the ‘home office’? Doesn’t matter. Stand up and get yourself to this steak. Oh, and bring a friend cos she’s a biggun. Also, it’s nice to have company when you’re listing all the ways that you love the treacle bordelaise. A serious meat moment, cooked to perfection.
Kudu Grill’s approach to food is 80% fire and 20% butter and we are so into it it hurts. Well, mostly it’s probably just hurting our arteries, but that’s by the by when a restaurant is so casually serving a barbecued black bream with zhug butter roti. Finally a whole fish experience that isn’t a snooze fest but the chance to spend twenty minutes fighting over the best flakey bits of fish and loading it onto gloriously rich roti like the artistic hungry cat you are deep, deep down.
Not not Kudu Grill chucking some crispy chicken skin crunch into some mashed potatoes. A certified naughty side that will make you utter some very NSFW things about some innocent blitzed vegetables. We love to see it.
By morning this zesty mint is getting dolloped on toothbrushes, but come evening you’ll find it being all green and fabulous on top of this tart. Rich, indulgent, and the only reason we’ll ever stop eating Kudu’s biltong.