With its move from the village of Riebeek Kasteel to a farm on the outskirts of Wellington, the menu at Bar Bar Black Sheep has shifted to a heartier country-style cuisine. Scribbled on a blackboard you’ll find a surprisingly extensive menu ranging from Cape country cooking to classic bistro dishes. A trio of hearty soups kicks things off – the pea soup enriched by both bockwurst and pulled pork is a good choice – before tempting starter portions of mushroom risotto, salad, bitterballen or marrowbones on toast. The much-loved fishcakes – here from West Coast snoek – survived the move, but the delicious and ever-popular Bar Bar lamb burger is set to become only an occasional visitor. No matter; main course choices include fragrant Malay curry and the ubiquitous pork belly. Adventurous diners with a taste for offal can try the braised sheep hearts or ox tongue. Expect generous portions and bold flavours throughout.
A small list of hyper-local wines, most drawn from the surrounding vineyards. Limited choice by the glass. End off with the brandy made in the distillery right next door.
Here you will find eager and friendly young wait staff for whom nothing is too much trouble.
Tables on the spacious terrace and under the lapa are best for summer days, or if you have kids in tow. Else book a seat indoors at the fireplace: the 18th-century farm building brims with character.
Opening times can vary with the seasons and demand, so best to call ahead and book.
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Pieter du Toit
There were rumours that this venue’s quality changed with new ownership, but this could not be further from the truth. Bar Bar Black sheep keeps it simple, with well-cooked food that have patrons coming back again and again. What is important here is that, clearly, every main ingredient on the plate receives lots of attention. It’s unfussy food without any complex sauces or frills to distract the diner. The starters menu includes a variety of soups, marrowbones, tongues, sardines on toast and beef carpaccio. All served in a simple way that nevertheless blows the palate away. A soup of haddock, leek and cheddar is just perfect. Instead of just another creamy broth, small slithers of haddock turn it into a hearty treat. There is a sense of humour here, as seen in the pulled beef croquettes with mustard, served in a very naughty display. For mains, take your pick between sheep hearts, pickled ox tongue, beef samoosa’s, rabbit and duck. Completely delicious!
The list features great local wines, hurray! You are after all in the middle of the Swartland, where a wine revolution has been brewing. If you’re unsure of what to order, pop in at the neighbouring wine shop for advice.
Great service. The chef is either a shy man, of just too busy to talk to the clientele. He/she should perhaps make the time, because we diners would love to chat to someone with such a great food philosophy.
The venue is well known and very popular. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming; this is a never-a-dull-moment kind of eatery.
Don’t rush your meal, as this is a slow food experience. Before you leave, be sure to stock up on the local juice at the wine shop next door.