There was never a glaring signboard that hoarded guests to the penthouse of W Building on Fifth Street, but somehow everyone got the picture. And even with just set menus showcasing the breadth of Filipino cuisine in a fine dining arena, it attracted droves of people wanting to sample this culinary feat. Then, one day, the phone lines were cut and the oblivious who wanted a reservation were left in the dark. I was one of them, confused as to why the restaurant lines were dead.
It was sad to see the façade of Black Sheep at its former address, a sprawling dining area featuring an open kitchen, and even more morose to find out the space had been converted into a company cafeteria.
News spread that Black Sheep had reopened its doors at a new Makati address that everyone was eager to visit –that is if you find it first. An elusive sign bearing the icon of a sheep’s head is all you’ll get along the vehicle-ridden Chino Roces extension. Google Maps, do your thing.
The new location is quite different, as well. An intimate space feels rather comfortable without the overbearing service we’ve attached to the notion of upscale restaurants, but even the interiors foreshadow the fare served -contemporary and straightforward.
Although a few days shy of a month since Black Sheep officially relaunched in the central business district, give credit to the affable chef Patrick Go who has taken the reigns of the restaurant and reworked the entire menu to a modern fusion of Filipino-Chinese cuisine. But remnant of the former Black Sheep at BGC, the philosophy is preserved where childhood memories into the concept of food.
The Black Sheep Appetizers
At this point, you’ve started your nostalgic journey down memory lane as a batang 90’s, more or less. Very much recommended for your meal is a glass (bottle) of wine (they have a selection that hails from California, France and Italy) since the menu is curated for such pairings.
Foie Long Bao
With the surge of the xiao long bao in Manila, chef Patrick Go recreates his own savory version using duck meat, buttery foie gras and xiaoxing (Chinese plum wine) broth. Meant to be eaten in one bite, these dumplings are such an explosion of complex flavors and textures in your mouth that I felt like a character in Cooking Master Boy who has tasted Mao’s cooking for the first time.
Inspired by his Chinese heritage, this dish is a play on the Peking duck pancakes we’ve associated with Chinese cuisine, but it uses ox tongue as its meat of choice. The mandarin wrapper is made in-house (all wrappers, noodles and sauces are also made in-house) and slathered with smoked XO sauce, hoisin sauce and a pit of pickled radish for acidity.
Remember the pancit canton we had for merienda after a long day at school? This dish is reminiscent of that memory, but with beetroot noodles, an artichoke heart, dried seasonal fruits and fried basil. The chef personally comes out to pour the shiitake jus on top of your crispy noodles and interacts with the guests.
Read on for more on the food!