It was a bit of a shock last year when Black Sheep, with its spectacular view of the Bonifacio skyline and the creative Filipino degustation menus of Chef Jordy Navarra closed early last year. The good new is, after a bit of a delay, it reopened last January at a more modest location along Pasong Tamo near Don Bosco. The view is gone and so is Chef Jordy (who is opening a restaurant of his own), but the kitchen is now headed by Black Sheep veteran Patrick Go who melds together Filipino and Chinese flavors for a menu that is now firmly a la carte.
The interiors are less luxe than the old digs but the chairs are comfortable and the tables well-spaced. There is a problem with the noise coming from the blowers in the open kitchen but we were assured they were working on a solution. It’s interesting that part of the table setting is tweezers, which we didn’t get to use, but I am definitely intrigued as to which dishes would require them.
The menu at the moment is quite compact with less than 10 items, but we were assured that it would be expanded in the coming weeks as the development of new recipes comes on-line.
We started with a couple of appetizers. I particularly enjoyed the XOXO which channels a Peking Duck vibe but with the XO sauce adding additional umami with its bagoong-like flavors.
The Foie Long Bao has, of course, been done before, famously by Din Tai Fung, but this version has a bit more going on with the xiaoxing, plum, and peanut soil on top. The wrapper could be a bit thinner, especially on the bottom, though.
We also had the Two Na which is a bit like negitoro but on a Chinese sweet cake that turned into something resembling melba toast.
For some reason, my picture of our main course of TLC – Kitayama Tenderloin Grade 6 with black vinegar, five spice and shimeji didn’t come out but it was excellent.
If you like your food explained to you, this is the place for you. After each dish is served, the chef who prepared it comes out to give a brief explanation of the food. It’s a good way to interact with the chefs but I wonder how that will work out when the restaurant is full.
To go with our meal was a medium-bodied and slightly rustic with dried herbs but quite approachable Laurus St. Joseph from Gabriel Meffre.
We tried the two desserts available. While I did like Tea Time with Chamomile Panna Cotta, I loved the Ice Candy which pays tribute to the Filipino child’s summer favorite of home-made avocado ice.
You might think that a mix of Filipino and Chinese food would have quite bold flavors but that’s not the case here. The offerings are nuanced and refined but well-thought out. I’m definitely looking forward to the new dishes to be put on the menu.
Disclosure: I supply wines to Black Sheep
Black Sheep is located at 2230 UPRC 1 Building, Chino Roces Ave. (Pasong Tamo), Makati City. Tel 7441569