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Black Sheep

Black Sheep
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Cost
R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Special occasions
Food
Bistro fare, Food from the Americas, Modern
Payment
Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R70

Critic's review

Amy Ebedes

Food
This is not a small-plate restaurant. Portions are generous and rich: keep this in mind when plotting out your meal. Three courses may defeat eat even the heartiest of appetites.

The menu changes daily according to produce availability, and is displayed on chalkboards on the wall. The starters are seemingly light, but the portions are sizey. The West Coast mussels (R95), served in a creamy white wine sauce, is a well-rounded dish; an ample starter for two. The trout gravadlax (R95) is light and fresh. The dill mustard dressing, pickled beetroot dressing and rye bread adds a needed tang.

Main options range from roast aubergine-and-tomato ragout (R130) and roast Kingklip (R170) to rabbit leg and Impala loin (both R200). The kudu (R195), braised in red wine and served with bacon and root vegetables is, as expected, incredibly rich and, surprisingly, a touch under seasoned. On the contrary, the venison parpardelle (R145) is unevenly seasoned, with a number of forkfulls overly salted.

If you have room for dessert, the likes of a flourless chocolate tart or artisan cheeseboard are on offer.

Drinks
Expect an extensive wine list, with a pleasing number of options by the glass (R50 white, R55 red).

Service
Staff are affable and you’re treated as if you’re an old friend. The restaurant is busy, but food arrives at a good pace.

Ambience
Vibey and trendy. It’s always busy but you won’t feel crammed in. Arrive early to enjoy a drink at the bar and watch bustling Kloof Street pass you by,

Best for...
Casual date night with familiar, comforting food.

(2018)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

  • Ambience
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  • Food
  • Amy Ebedes

    Food
    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.

    Drinks
    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
    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.

    Ambience
    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).

    And…
    If it’s too early to head home, head upstairs to the lounge section with your wine and continue the evening’s festivities.

    (August 2017)

    Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

User reviews

  • Have you ever had maggots in your food? After tonight, I have. I've eaten at the Black Sheep before and it was not amazing, but very good. Tonight, however makes me wonder if it was just a bad night, or really what standards they are setting for their food safety and customer service. I went with a friend for an early dinner. We ordered a couple of beers, three starters and two mains. The starters came out: seared tuna salad, marinated sardines and an heirloom tomato salad. All very tasty, especially the tomato salad. As my friend was picking at the last few tomatoes and cheese, he balked when part of the salad started moving. A small maggot, squirming and probably wondering why we had interrupted his dinner. The waiter noted our concern, the maggot and then took the dish away. Instead of the manager coming over, he sent back the original waiter who offered that "the head chef would like to make it up to you. What can we make you?" We asked for him to make us a quick exit because...why do I have to explain this? He genuinely insisted that the presence of a maggot was an indication "of how fresh the salad was." We asked for the manager. Louie came over and said he had "heard of an issue with our meal." Speaking of maggots, Louie said that it was unfortunate that "they had not cleaned properly this time and had missed one." We want to leave, I told him. I would leave it up to him as to what he thought was the correct course of action to remedy the situation. He said he would take the salad off of the bill, but insisted nothing else. As someone who eats out a lot, but really as a person who has just previously been to any other restaurant, I said that was really a poor response. However, I said he could do whatever he wanted to do, but after 5 minutes I was leaving. Gravely, he insisted that he would be forced to call the police if we didn't pay. Now, I'm not sure what restaurants you eat at, but while I am prepared for a number of things, I certainly don't expect to be served a maggot and then be purposely misunderstood and threatened. Any of those things--individually or together. Maybe Louie, the manager just started at Black Sheep and thought his reaction and treatment was reasonable? Maybe Black Sheep makes it a habit to hire incompetent staff? Maybe maggots are the new super food? Maybe I'll never find out, because I'm not going back.
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  • We dared dinner on Valentines Day at this Cape Town institution. What a treat it was! The restaurant was packed, even at our 20:45pm booking. The wine list is extensive and balanced. We found an easy drinking merlot at a palatable price tag. The idea of European room temperatures for red wine is a little lost on most restaurants in SA but at least the waitress didnt obviously roll her eyes at our request for ice. The food menu is written on a black board as it changes daily based on ingredient seasonability and availability. I love this about a restaurant. We did feel a bit sorry for the couple seated by the black board as everyone was staring in their general direction for most of their valentines dinner. We started with the asparagus rolls and chilli squid. Another thing I love is a seriously thought out dish, perfectly executed with balance and delicacy - from a bustling kitchen. Both dishes were sensational, with great respect shown to the ingredients. The chilli on the squid was a little on the light side, but all the flavours were perfectly balanced and worked in harmony. For mains we ordered the kingklip and Vietnamese chicken legs. After a short discussion with the chef re the spice level of the “crying tiger” dressing, I was not disappointed. Both dishes, again balanced and executed perfectly, were spectacular! We didnt have space for dessert, but passing plates looked amazing. Service was flawless. From arriving at the door until you leave, a host of staff pay close and careful attention to your comfort and enjoyment. We felt like “regulars”, even though it was our first time there. The place was bustling with people and the atmosphere welcoming and comfortable. It is not hard to see why this place has been successful over many years. It was our first visit but definitey not our last.
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  • The food was great . Simple and tastey. Daily menu changing depending on what the chef can buy fresh . I sm not a vegetarian bur had a lentil coconut curry with halomi and butternut as main loved it ! Almond tart for pud mmmmm
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  • After a brief hiatus, the Black Sheep is back to impressing palates and lessening wallets. Set in an elegant, modern space in trendy Kloof Street, the restaurant always seems to be abuzz with Cape Town’s elite. The blackboard style menu changes often, making it difficult for a finicky eater like myself to plan ahead. Perhaps this is a good thing, because I arrived without predispositions, and ended up being pleasantly surprised by the varied and interesting choices on offer. Everything we had was stellar, from the mains to the desserts to the wines. In contrast to this was the service, which was lackluster and slightly indifferent. Beware: the prices aren’t cheap, and the wine list in particular knocked us back quite a few. Also, be aware of a service charge for parties of six and up. All in all, delicious food in a charming setting makes Black Sheep the perfect venue for a lively celebration or a cheeky weekend splurge.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Live entertainment
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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