Peckham. For as long as I can remember, all I knew about this south London borough I learned from Desmond’s.
Yes, Desmond’s. The TV barbershop.
Age and lack of current pop-culture-cool shown right there in one fell swoop. Not a place I’d normally find myself given an N1 abode, it’s now fairly clear to me that with the arrival of Kudu, great swathes of future weekends may be lost here.
Flaunting beautiful South African inspired dishes made with local seasonal produce, this place is prettier than Oscar night Blake Lively in a rose garden with a leashful of tumbling pug puppies. All teal velvet banquettes, rugged blush walls, peachy marble tables (the cutest of which are date-night-perfect as they sit you side by side with your sweetie) and gloriously modern yet thankfully filament free lighting. Finally it seems as if the time of oversized, bare naked lightbulbs swinging from the rafters like the last-gal-standing-at-a-TOWIE-themed-hen-party may be coming to an end.
Run by Amy Corbin, daughter of Chris Corbin from the Corbin & King restaurant empire, and her partner & former Paradise Garage sous chef Patrick Williams, this is a place where the service is as warm & beguiling as the country that inspires the food.
Their cast-iron cossetted bread, currently reigning over Instagram like a soft, squidgy, parsley-flicked, butter-slicked champ, was almost enough to convince me that my first venture here should be an evening affair but the relentlessly restorative power of brunch won out as is usually the case with me.
I’ve been travelling to South Africa since I was in pixie boots & the sort of oversized glasses your mum apparently thinks it’s good for you to be able to express yourself in so decades of my childhood memories are flavoured with Simba Chips & Romany Creams and perfumed with Sparletta Cream Soda & PS Bars. It’s a slightly more sophisticated take on the country’s cuisine here (though I do have my fingers crossed for Tex Bar French toast appearing on the menu soon) and it’s a triumph of colour & texture.
A curlicue of tender boerewors recline juicily across creamy white beans like a 1940’s Victory Rolled pin-up on a hay bale and both become the perfect canvas for flashes of vivid romesco & chimichurri as well as a January-thighs-wobbly yolked fried egg.
A sourdough waffle is sticky with maple, bronzed to Hasselhoff-ian perfection, crispy edged, softly centred & holds up a slab of bacon as though it were practising for the semi-final tyre flip on ‘World’s Strongest Man’. Scandalously oversized duck eggs and a puddle of sour cream add shots of colour to the onyx lipped ceramic dish while a side of smashed avocado comes speckled with bean sprouts & a splash of olive oil. This is savoury brunching at its finest and it’s impossible to stop eating…
…so don’t. Clear your plate with the timeless words of parents at dinner tables the world over ringing in your ears and do the right thing. Order dessert. Make it the cloud light French toast chocolate babka, wavy with ribbons of cocoa and thick with miso caramel & citrus candied kumquats tangoing across your tongue.
One portion is an excellent for sharing…I’d hazard a guess it’s also a splendid size for one.
I’ve now done the first…I’ll be back to do the second.
There’s much to coo over when it comes to Kudu – quintessential breakfast items are given a Rebecca-Ferguson-hot international makeover and I’m envious of both the luxuriously scant interiors and the decidedly southern location. In nearly twenty years of London living, I’ve never before hankered for an SE postcode but this warmly nostalgic & beautifully contemporary spot is exactly the sort of place to turn a girl’s head, heart & stomach south of the river.