133 Queen's Road
What’s the vibe?
Younger siblings have a reputation for being the fun-loving, naughty ones, and the sentiment couldn’t be truer for Little Kudu. It’s the latest addition to Kudu Collective, a family of South African restaurants comprising Kudu, Kudu Grill and private dining room Curious Kudu. A rapid expansion from one outpost to four since 2018 from owners Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams is a gamble that risks turning something unique into chain fodder, but this is far from the case at Kudu. Like its siblings, Little Kudu has a distinct identity, this time a more casual iteration focusing on South African small plates and wines.
You’ll find it south of the river, tucked under Queens Road Peckham station. In a feat that can only be described as spatial sorcery, Little Kudu has somehow managed to fit a 22-cover restaurant, kitchen, monolithic central communal table and 2-metre-long vintage Murano chandelier into the snug of a railway arch. Are we dining inside Mary Poppins’ bag? We’re unsure. But one thing we do know is that the wonderful marriage of casual prettiness, sincere service and serious grub here makes Little Kudu neighbourhood dining at its best.
What to eat?
The A5 paper menu comprises a neat selection of nibbles, starters, larger plates and puds designed for sharing, so there’s only minor decision paralysis when ordering – giving you uncompromised focus on Kudu spritz sipping.
Commence proceedings with a warm kudu loaf inspired by the mosbolletjies, an Afrikaner sweet bun, accompanied with a foaming frenzy of Cape Malay butter – this stuff is so good the bread will become heavy from liberal dunking. From there, slurp your way through Fine de Claire oysters laced with chilli, lemon and mignonette, crispy tempura sweetcorn dunked into miso mayo and slices of Kalhari spiced biltong.
For larger dishes, go for the peri peri mussels cooked in a potjie (a small lidded cauldron) that regrettably don’t come with more Kudu loaf and the flat iron steak cooked on the braai. The latter is a heap of bovine bliss that’s served with a tangle of jammy peppers and a Jenga-style arrangement of chunky chips.
To finish at mains would be wise for those in tightly buttoned trousers, but where’s the fun in playing it safe? Put your digestive system into overdrive and get the gorgonzola canelé – the chewy caramelised crust encasing the gooiest blue cheese centre will have you gasping.
What to drink?
The Smokey Kudu is the restaurant's flagship drink, but we contest that the Kudu spritz is a better play if you want to leave the meal verbally coherent. Made using Sipello, St Germain Elderflower and De Grandel Brut (a South African sparking wine), it’s a thirst-quenching start to the meal. The wine list is unsurprisingly exclusively South African, showcasing the country's world-renowned viticulture. Looking for a white? Opt for the Piekenierskloff heirloom white – an oaked chenin blanc that’s one of the Cape’s most exciting wine-making styles. Or, if you’re hankering for a glass of red, get the Kara Tara pinot noir from the Western Cape. Many wines are also available by carafe, a welcome touch for those wanting a lunchtime tipple.