I love blackboard menus in restaurants. Scribbled up daily, and updated as the night wears on, it’s the mark of a restaurant that cares about each and every dish on the menu. Made fresh that day, using fresh ingredients; when it’s gone, it’s gone. Draw a line through it and move on.
That’s just the first reason to love Black Sheep, on the upper reaches of Cape Town’s trendy Kloof Street. The second is the wonderful food from chef Jonathan Japha.
Japha made his name at the small-plate restaurant Fork, in Long Street, but here offers dishes inspired by his time in the “gastro-pubs” of London.
While the menu changes daily, starters could include delicious bacon and calves’ liver pâté or classic steak tartare with crisp Melba toast. Hearty mains embrace the bistro approach, with the likes of roast rabbit loin wrapped in bacon, and stuffed lamb neck. Then there are the favourites locals simply won’t let him take off the menu: chicken breast rubbed with mustard and tarragon, and pork belly with hoisin and Chinese five-spice. Both are delicious.
Unusually for a bistro, vegetarians will also be happy here. Japha applies his considerable skills to concoct a wonderful range of meat-free meals that range from seasonal salad of heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil pesto to a signature lentil coconut curry with roasted butternut and grilled halloumi.
The menu is matched by a great selection of local wine estates, alongside a handful of good craft beers. As bistro food goes, Black Sheep ticks all the right boxes. Just be sure to book a table in advance; this restaurant is a very popular black sheep.