An African horned mammal related to the antelope, the kudu eats shoots and leaves (like most Aussie men) but also wild watermelons if they can get ‘em. They're a delicacy in themselves for wild dogs, lions and leopards and a common one thanks to their habit of standing stock still under attack in the hope their striped pelts will keep them camouflaged.
At Kudu Lounge in Darlinghurst, the only reference to this dopey beast is a mounted head (complete with the large curly horns the males use for combat) on the wall. The rest of Kudu Bar has a kind of mixed feel, with 1920s style nudes on the walls in grainy black and white and Moroccan lamps hanging from the ceiling. That slick, shiny look so many Sydney bars have adopted also pervades.
Having been open for around a month, Kudu is already inundated with function requests - both Saturdays Time Out tried to go for a drink they wouldn't let us in as there were parties going on and even poppette Nikki Webster had her birthday there. Our advice: visit during the week to guarantee getting in.
There's a whole list of Martinis here but not a single straight version. However, there are some interesting drinks served in Martini glasses like the Vesuvius - Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon mixed with Campari and apple, pineapple and lime juice. There's also interesting takes on the classics like The Treacle. A bit like a rum Old Fashioned, it's Jamaican rum stirred over ice, bitters and brown sugar, except it's then topped with a dash of apple juice.
The Treacle is a great drink if you're into no-fuss options but if you like the fruity stuff there's a lychee-fest that is the Kikay (vodka, lychee liqueur and muddled lychees). But if cocktails leave you feeling a little limp, they've got plenty of beer by the bottle (Asahi, Coopers Pale and Peroni, for starters) or there's always a double tequila on the rocks with chunks of fresh limes if you wanna play it really straight.
Sit outside on the balcony (they've got heaters laid out for winter so you'll stay snug as a bug in a booze rug) or there's banquette style seating in the slim, dark room. Bizarrely, the Moroccan tea glasses holding what would traditionally be tea lights are electric but flicker like the real thing which is creepy - the ambient equivalent of riding a broken escalator.
Kudu's service is chipper and if you're feeling a little snacky, there are tapas style plates like barbecue prawns, chicken skewers or meatballs. If you're feeling a little fancy, the crepe Suzette is worth trying. But if it's a matter of ballast, go for roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic.
There's not a lot going on at Kudu in terms of vibe (unless you count the flaccid blurts of Café Del Mar in the background) but it's fine as a meeting point and very handy for Infinity sourdough, the late-opening bakery ensconced beneath the bar.