Laidback comfort food and a lively atmosphere at this local gem.
It’s hard to imagine Kloof Street without the Black Sheep. The casual eatery with an ever-changing chalkboard menu has been a fixture for locals ever since it opened in 2013. Owned by Jorge Silva, Jonathan Japha and their wives, sisters Nina and Sherry, it’s a family business that revolves around a shared love of great food.
Having worked in Michelin-star restaurants and modern gastropubs in the UK and Ireland for 10 years, before taking up the position as head chef at Fork in Long Street, Johnny decided it was time for the four friends to start their own venture, inspired by the honest, unpretentious food of the pubs he’d worked in abroad.
A constantly changing menu
They prefer not to use catchphrases like “farm to table” or “nose to tail”, letting you make up your own mind about what they stand for, but Jonny and Sherry naturally cook by those good food principles. Their fish is delivered fresh from Abalobi, they buy in a whole sheep or pig and work through all the cuts – perhaps pork belly one day, chops another, finishing up with hearty pork curry. As a result the menu is decided according to mood, weather and available ingredients, and chalked up freshly each day (they don’t print menus). Lunch is different to dinner, and when a dish is finished it’s crossed off the board.
Hearty dishes with global flavours
Kingklip fillet on lentils spiced with garam masala is typical of the creative flavours on the lunch menu. Fish and chips turned out to be delicious kingklip belly in a light beer batter (no frozen hake here). A globetrotting selection of curries was on offer when we visited: Burmese pork curry, South Indian coconut fish curry, and a lentil and coconut curry with chard, sweet potato and grilled halloumi that is a perennial vegetarian favourite. Burgers feature on the lunch menu, but not for dinner. For starters, don’t miss the asparagus wrapped in crisp filo pastry with Parmesan, or the spanakopita, densely savoury with burnt black olive butter.
Desserts are classic and generous – creamy lemon cheesecake with blueberries, an OTT chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce, sticky toffee pudding, walnut tart, worth coming hungry for.
At lunch, the windows open wide onto the street with locals and international visitors stopping by for a quick plate or a laidback three-course meal. Dinner service is always busy, the music turns up a notch and it can get noisy. “If someone asks for a quiet, romantic table, I tell them that’s not us,” says Jorge. But if you want great food and a lively atmosphere, The Black Sheep is it.
Over the road
For pre-dinner drinks, or while you wait for a table to free up at the Black Sheep, their sister bar across the road is a delightful hang-out. The Dark Horse has a stunning little roof terrace with views from mountain to harbour and a short chalkboard menu of bar snacks, too. The kitchen team rotates between the two establishments so expect the same excellent quality and freshness here.
Good to know You can book the upstairs section overlooking the bar for groups of up to 30 people with a bespoke set menu.
Times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Monday, 5pm – 10pm
Contact 021 426 2661, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 104 Kloof Street, Cape Town
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