There’s a reason it’s tough to get a booking at this Kloof Street hangout. It’s the hangout spot for many Capetonians – and for good reason. The blackboard menu changes daily, and is uploaded to their site if you’d like to spoil the surprise that awaits you.
Portions are hearty and generous – something worth keeping in mind when ordering. Opt for a starter on the lighter side: the rainbow trout gravadlax, served on sourdough with pickled beetroot salad and a dill mustard salad, is light and refreshing with a lovely hint of tartness. The Fior Di Latte, tomato and olive tapenade tartlet is served on crispy puff pastry and, while delicious, is a sizey portion for a starter, erring more on the side of tart than a tartlet.
For mains, expect a choice of vegetarian options (whole roasted mushrooms or lentil coconut curry), a range of fish dishes (including seared rainbow trout, kingklip, South Indian yellowtail coconut curry and seared tuna), and a number of bold slow roasts, such as sticky Asian black bean beef short ribs, spiced beef brisket and slow-roasted pork shoulder.
The fresh pappardelle with rabbit braised in white wine, peas and parmesan is worth venturing out of your comfort zone for: it’s not as filling as the other meaty dishes and is earthy with pops of sweetness. The Chinese 5-spice hoisin pork belly is another notable option. Served with sweet potato puree, Chinese cabbage and perfect crackling, it’s hearty, spicy and wholesome.
Desserts portions are slightly smaller than expected, which will be somewhat of a relief if you’ve opted to indulge in three courses. The flourless chocolate cake is akin to a tasty little brownie. It’s rich and tasty, but lacks a boldness in flavour when compared to the preceeding dishes. Other options include the likes of an almond tart, white chocolate mousse, coconut sago pudding (served warm or cold) and a cheeseboard of local artisan cheeses.
Expect a beast of a wine list with a great variety of options – plus a number of fantastic options by the glass. Expect to pay R45 for a glass of white and around R50 for red.
Service is friendly, casual and prompt, and staff are well versed in the menu. Management is ever-present and fully involved on the floor. A few minor errors were rapidly sorted without fuss.
The Black Sheep is trendy but comfortable. It’s vibey and festive, but without being overbearing. The small bar area is a popular venue for after-work drinks (complete with a concise list of bar snacks).
If it’s too early to head home, head upstairs to the lounge section with your wine and continue the evening’s festivities.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Situated on the ever growing, culinary hub that is Kloof Street, Black Sheep offers an uncomplicated yet delicious dining experience.
My first choice was the sweet breads with an amazing balanced sauce gribiche. It's always a risk ordering sweet breads because if you receive them undercooked or cold you’ll basically be chewing on cold fat; overcooked, and you’ll be chewing a tasteless ball of sinew. These were perfectly cooked and well paired with the sauce. Some of the other mouth watering options for starters were grilled tongue with salsa verde, pickled beetroot and horseradish as well as coppa with cauliflower fritto and a caper parsley dressing – this is some seriously good food.
Next up was Hanger steak with thick cut fries, my aim was to see if the team at black sheep were able to get the basics right and without a doubt I was served another amazing dish. I have to say that it took me quite a long time to pick this dish simply because there were so many amazing dishes to choose from, like Chinese 5 spice, sticky pork belly, South Indian Yellowtail coconut curry and Roasted pork shoulder with braised red cabbage and roast potatoes. It almost resulted in me ordering three mains, but finally I decided to go with the hanger steak.
Again it’s always a risk ordering hanger steak, which just happens to be my favourite cut of beef. Because this cut isn’t as tender as the more common cuts of beef, cooking this incorrectly could have you chewing until the cows come home (so to speak!). The dish was flavoursome, perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned, with the meat wonderfully tender.
The evening was a refreshing experience with the menu and food being uncomplicated, unpretentious but so well delivered with fresh flavors, amazing textures with a modern spin put on each dish, with the menu prices being reasonable.
The beautiful open bar has a selection of wines, beers and spirits – all very well priced.
With the restaurant busy, and vibing you would expect service to be slightly delayed but this wasn’t the case, which made the evening that much more enjoyable. Our waiter was very informative when he explained the dishes, and what made his opinion more useful was that you could tell he had tasted the food before which always helps.
With a cool and relaxed ambiance to match featuring a multi levelled restaurant as well as an on street bar. The restaurant is very warm using different tones of wood to create the feeling as well as soft light. There is always a hum and buzz throughout the restaurant of people talking and laughing adding to the overall warmness of the restaurant.
Black sheep could very well become the perfect midweek hangout, where you’re sure to get a great meal, every time.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Chef Jonathan Japha’s blackboard menu changes frequently according to what is fresh and in season. We struggle to choose between the inventive-sounding dishes, and eventually kick off with bacon-wrapped duck livers and a roast pork loin with capers and tuna anchovy dressing. The latter is less successful – the pork loin is served as a cold cut, and is a little bland itself. The creamy sauce that covers it is admittedly delicious – but it seems a slightly odd pairing, particularly served cold. For mains, I sample the yoghurt and dill chicken with a papadum, a cucumber and tomato salsa and a powerful atchar. The chicken is tender – but the sauce could use some bolder and more varied spicing. My partner in crime tries the roast lamb leg with braised leeks, puy lentils and roast garlic sauce. The lentils and roast garlic sauce are scrumptious, but the lamb lacks that knock-your-socks-off lamb richness. The highlight is a glorious chocolate brownie – a square of oozing glory with a light, squidgy texture that's more reminiscent of a chocolate fondant than a brownie. The pavlova with fresh fruit is a lighter option – a beautiful cloud of soft meringue.
Craft beer and some great cocktails made at the bar complement a well-curated wine list.
Both our waiter and Chilean co-owner Jorge Silva who mans the front-of-house are charming. Our glasses of tap water are refilled multiple times without our asking and all-in-all, there’s a general air of generosity from the staff.
Well-pitched lighting, windows opening onto the upper end of Kloof Street and a hip little bar to one side succeed in creating the sort of place that even Capetonians are willing to book ahead for. It’s cosy, but airy, friendly, but private, vibey but romantic. Things can get a little loud up on the mezzanine section, opposite the open kitchen, though.
You’ll need to book a week or more ahead. And it’s such a lovely place to sit that people tend to hang around all evening.
As a relatively new kid on the block, this unfussy little spot is right on trend with regards to all the basics that are expected on the hipster hill that is Kloof Street. (One of the owners of Black Sheep is, however, known to Cape Town diners – Jonathan Japha is of Fork fame.)
The menu tempts with dishes like grilled rabbit or lamb kidneys, wrapped in bacon and sage, served with a duo of French mustards and a cabernet sauvignon vinaigrette. The wild rocket soup with parmesan is also very highly recommended. We also could not resist the bold black plate of roast aubergine salad with caramelised onion and yoghurt dressing.
While changing daily, the menu is packed with substantial dishes like a pulled pork sandwich (bursting with flavour, thanks to a variety of greenery and mayonnaise), and fish and chips, which is accompanied by a homemade tartare sauce.
The sweet options are tucked away on the last page of the wine list. The toffee pudding with cream ticks all the boxes, while the chocolate brownie with fudge sauce also hits the spot – it wouldn't be lunch without a chocolate dessert. It's a wonderfully indulgent feast of sweetness, but you can also consider trying the local artisanal cheeses.
All in all, a lot of promise here.
The wine list is compact and accommodating, without page after page of pontificating sommeliers' waffle. Fifty local wines are on offer, all very well priced and ranging from the more well-known brands to one or two less familiar options like Crystallum’s The Agnes Chardonnay or the Catherine Marshall Amatra Merlot from Elgin.
Seeing as we are in hipster headquarters, craft beers are not forgotten, offering the discerning beer drinker more than enough options, including Triggerfish, CBC and Jack Black.
To top off the drinks selection, they serve the wares of one of South Africa's rising stars of distillery, Jorgensen's in Wellington. You’ll find both their Primitiv Vodka and the Field of Dreams Absinthe.
The small but friendly team that Jorge Silva has put together knows their role – that of making customers feel at ease and to bring the chef's offering with cheer.
The three-tiered design of the restaurant makes it feel bigger than it is and also creates a relaxed café/bistro vibe. With views of Table Mountain, it’s a great place to meet friends for a quick lunch or dinner, or for one of those drinks-turns-into-dinner occasions. Come for lunch and you might end up staying for dinner!
The mezzanine level would serve as an ideal spot for intimate private parties.