Thursday, May 14, 2015

Restaurant Review: Black Sheep

“Our goal is to capture the flavor spectrum of our people in one meal, one sitting. To fully understand what is good and comfortable but to push the limits of our skills and give everyone a unique experience.” - Chef Jordy Navarra

Black Sheep’s degustacion has got to be one of the best meals one can have in Manila. And that is saying a lot because there’s so much good eating to be had in this metro.

I would even hazard to say that its signature salad, the Bahay Kubo, is one of the best things ever produced by a Filipino chef. This salad deserves a medal for originality, for taste and for plating. It is Iron Chef material.

Underneath the “topsoil” made of eggplant and peanuts are all the vegetables named in the Philippine folk song from which the salad derives its name. Take your fork and really dig in in order to get to the bed of sauce and scoop enough vegetables and “soil” to enjoy a complete mouthful of this genius dish.

This is my favorite and the star of the show in my opinion, quite a feat for a salad for sure. I wouldn’t quite say it steals the thunder from the stellar main course, a perfectly cooked rib eye steak made of aged Kitayama beef served on a plate “glazed” with squid ink mashed potatoes, but it comes close.

The meal starts with chicken-n-egg (free-range chicken, mandarin and beer), which gets five points for originality and plating. I need to shave off a point for taste because the crunch that I loved when I first tried it was sorely missing the second time.

This was followed by the macaron with laing. When served, the waitstaff will remind you to let the whole morsel melt in your mouth. It is a necessary detail. I gobbled the entire thing during my first visit, and dismissed it as forgettable. The second time around, I took the advice and ended up really delighting in this effervescent creation as it unraveled its sweet, creamy goodness onto my tongue.

Following this was the Today’s Catch course. I was able to sample the oysters during my first visit. It was nothing special. On my second visit, I was served a dumpling on a spoon. I took the whole thing in my mouth, took a bite and almost choked as the sudden burst of soup flooded the back of my throat. The bisque-like liquid was packed with the flavor of prawns. The second item on the plate was an ebi tempura with prawn-flavored mayonnaise on the side. It was prawn on prawn on prawn. And it was delicious.

For my main course during my second visit, I opted for the pork and chicken, which certainly paled in comparison to the beef. I think Chef Jordy Navarra can certainly produce something more badass from a sublime raw material like pork.

The desserts are not quite there yet in terms of flavor but get top points for presentation. Maybe in my next visit, and there certainly will be one.

Budget from P1900++ per person
Monday - Saturday +632 478 4498 | +63917 871 4388 dine@blacksheepbgc.com
(Update: Black Sheep recently announced the closure of its BGC location. News is the restaurant will be moving to a new location in Makati CBD. Unfortunately, Chef Jordy will not be joining the move. I'm eagerly awaiting his next venture.)

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