Earlier this month we spent the morning at Kudu Grill, a newly opened South African restaurant on Nunhead Lane, run by the wonderful Amy Corbin and her husband Patrick. We fell in love with the gorgeous interiors and incredible menu so couldn’t wait to find out more about how Kudu Collective started.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your business?
My husband, Patrick, and I opened Kudu in 2018 and then in early 2020 we opened our cocktail bar, Smokey Kudu. This year we’ve been lucky enough to also open a gallery and private dining space, Curious Kudu, and our fourth site, Kudu Grill, which opened this month. Patrick is a chef, so all our menus are created by him and influenced by his upbringing in South Africa. I studied at a design university in New York and interiors has always been a passion, so it’s been really fun working alongside Alessio, our designer, to create the spaces. I also do the operational side of the business, which fits my personality as I’m a bit of a control freak.
How did Kudu start and what is the story behind the name?
Kudu started as Patrick was working at a restaurant and I was in a job I didn’t particularly enjoy, so we had an idea to change things up and open our own neighbourhood restaurant. We found an old chicken shop that we stripped out from top to bottom and Kudu was born. We knew we wanted to call it a South African animal and Kudu jumped out at us straight away. I love how catchy it is!
Growing up, did you always want to be a restauranteur?
I always had a passion for the industry as I was living it through my dad. It was only when I met Patrick that it made sense to go in the industry together as we both have different skills we could bring.
What is the vibe like at your restaurants and cocktail bar? And what outfit would you wear to dinner at Kudu?
Our restaurants are casual but with a sexy, cosy feeling. I would wear a midi skirt, trainers and a jumper or a midi dress with a leather jacket and cross body bag.
If you had to pick one, which dish would you recommend ordering at either of the Kudu restaurants?
The whole black bream, cooked on the braai, with zhug butter roti from Kudu Grill. I love how interactive the dish is and it’s perfect to share with friends and family.
What advice would you give to someone starting up their own business?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and hire people who know more than you. Nobody is the best at everything and you’re a stronger team if you do that.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
- I wake up at 6am and take my two daughters to nursery
- Then I head home and make myself a big coffee and some toast
- I head down to Kudu for manager meetings, tastings and to meet new staff
- I generally have lunch at Kudu, sometimes with my dad
- Then I’ll go to Smokey Kudu to see what’s happening and get any menu updates
- In the afternoon I’ll go to our new restaurant, Kudu Grill, for updates from the manager and will finish off some emails there
- Then I’ll pick up my daughters at nursery, take them home and put them to bed
- The nanny arrives for babysitting, and I’ll go back to Kudu Grill to see who is in, meet customers and help out on the floor.
- Then I’ll do a final round at Kudu and Smokey Kudu before heading home around 10pm
- I’ll have dinner at home, shower and then go to bed.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
For me comfort is key. In the daytime I normally wear jeans with a jumper or blouse and trainers. In the evening, I’ll dress it up with a skirt or midi dress. When I’m not at work, I’m at home with two toddlers so there are a lot of spillages, meaning I can’t wear anything too precious unless I’m going out.
What are your go to wardrobe staples?
Definitely mom or straight leg jeans as well as a versatile jumper with a blouse tucked in and bright trainers to finish it off.
If I wasn’t running Kudu... I’d be sleeping a lot more and probably working in the design field.
My day isn’t complete until... I have finished all the emails in my inbox.
The best thing about my job.... The satisfaction you get when you see people enjoying the restaurants and bars that you have worked so hard to put together.
My favourite food.... Kudu bread with melted seafood butter, I never get bored of that dish!
Words to live by... always hire people who know more than you.
My dream holiday destination.... Anywhere with sun, sea and a kids club
|High-neck sweater >
|Cable-knit sweater >
|Denim dungarees >