Sunday, February 18, 2018

Supper at The Black Sheep

To say we have been trying to get to this restaurant for a long time would not be an exaggeration. We know the Chef Owner Jonathan Japha from his days at Fork Tapas restaurant in Long Street. It says on their website that he has a love for UK gastropubs "that inspire his love for honest, uncomplicated good food made with the best local ingredients". But time and tide had washed us to other shores. So when friends phoned to say they had a reservation but family had postponed and were we free, we jumped at the opportunity. It is their favourite restaurant in Cape Town, probably because there is a good selection of vegetarian options on this large menu, which changes regularly
It’s right at the top of Kloof Road, on two levels and busy, which is why you need a reservation. We saw several people try to get a table, who either had to wait or were turned away. And they do two sittings: we had been booked for 6.30 and had to be out by 8.30. Not our favourite way of dining, it is not relaxing, but seeing how popular it is, understandable. This is the bar area which does get crowded as the evening draws on
The menu is chalked up on the board, the wine and beer list comes on a clip board
If you wish to BYO, you may only take one bottle of wine with you and share with four. Corkage is R70. We think this is fairly reasonable if you have an expensive bottle of wine you need to try; there is a good choice on the extensive wine list. Anima Chenin Blanc, given to us from Avondale to sample, certainly went well with all our choices; it is a versatile wine
The Amuse Bouche we were served (they called it that) was this delicious whole meal bread served warm and made with herbs, cheese and yogurt. It disappeared in a heartbeat
The Starter menu of the day
The Main course menu. You can check it out on their website before you go, but do expect changes as popular dishes may run out
You can just see Devil’s Peak and the table cloth forming on Table Mountain through the large open  window, which was closed as the evening cooled
Lynne's starter of Jellied Pork Terrine with pickles, mustard and toast. Sadly, it was a disappointment. She adores a good terrine, especially if the meat and liver are layered with a good stock jelly. This was a brawn, aka known as head cheese. Not a favourite dish, layers of pork skin and fat and a few herbs and very little jelly. Nothing wrong with the dish if you happen to like Brawn. Sadly many of us grew up hating this dish, as it often contained whiskers and gristle. This did not; but it does not resemble the terrines she loves. No mustard was served
John chose the Roast Sardines, served with tender stem broccoli, hard boiled egg and chilli. The sardines had been filleted and came with a chilli and tomato sauce
Our friends love the desserts here so they skipped starters and went straight to the main course. This was the Lentil Coconut curry, with butternut and sweet potatoes, and wilted spinach. It was topped with grilled halloumi cheese and enjoyed. The main course dishes are large and the food is substantial
The other vegetarian main was the Roast Aubergine and basil tomato ragout stack on spinach and steamed courgettes, with goat’s cheese and balsamic caramel. It was a very popular dish that night; we saw many servings in the restaurant. A table neighbour asked what it was, ordered it and said they too loved it
Lynne chose the South Indian Yellowtail curry, which came on a bed of grilled aubergine, with a poppadum, rice and sambals. Very substantial, more a mild Cape curry in style, very filling, even with the rice donated to the other curry! The large portion of fish, served in chunks, was fresh and perfectly cooked
John chose the Roast Rabbit Loin which was wrapped in bacon - we have seen a similar dish on Masterchef lately. Lynne suggested that he have it, he likes rabbit, as you so seldom see rabbit on Cape menus. There is always a risk that this dish may be dry, but it was perfectly moist with the bacon crisp, a skilled dish indeed. It was also nice and hot in its peppercorn sauce. It came with deep fried and beautifully crisp potato rosti, peas, broccoli and fresh spinach, something you also don't see much and which we love. Not chard, real spinach. They do serve good vegetables, properly cooked
Dessert time for our friends. A chocolate Brownie topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream and smothered in a thick chocolate sauce. Ronnie had a large smile on his face after this
And for Lolly, a Pavlova of broken meringue, strawberry, rhubarb and cream, with a nicely tart rhubarb sauce. She loved it
The bill. We did ask for water and didn't ask the price. It comes in glass bottles with the restaurant’s own label at R32. It was a warm night and we were thirsty. Dinner came to approximately R300 per person for two courses, including gratuity

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