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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The Black Sheep Cafe (Mayo Street)

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." - Sir Francis Bacon

***



Fine dining at cafe prices
(Cross posted as usual on HGW)

"Had the daily soup (Mushroom), Crispy pork cheeks, Duck Confit and Flourless Chocolate Tart.

The mushroom soup was good and didn't fall prey to some common mushroom soup pitfalls - too much mushroom (so that it becomes like a stew - or even a sauce - rather than a soup) or too intense a mushroom taste (you can have too much of a good thing, which comes with an off-bitter aftertaste too).

The pork cheeks and duck confit were perfectly moist, tender and flavourful, and the fruity condiments were a perfect foil for the meat (I have a sweet tooth though, so your mileage might vary). I have rarely come across such finely-executed meat, especially in Singapore.

The flourless chocolate tart was good. Typically I don't like fine chocolate as it is obligatory to pair a high cocoa content with a low sugar level, but this was fine (contrawise, others might find it too sweet). It also came with a scoop of fine vanilla ice cream.

We had wanted to try the Kahlua Soufflé, which was highly recommended, but the kitchen closed at 2pm (although the café itself is open till 3pm!), so I'll save it for my next visit.

All in all it was very good value. Bear in mind that there is no GST and service charge (the benefits of a Little India location, as opposed to some yuppie quarter).

The only downside is the portions - modest portions come with the modest prices. Fine dining comes with small portions, so this is something you have to keep in mind despite the café setting. We were served a few slices of garlic baguette (which was a bit out of place - it's more the province of Jack's Place, but I shan't quibble), but I'm not sure if we could've asked for more.

Those who like variety might turn their noses up at this place as the menu is very short, but this is a good thing since they enjoy gains from specialisation. In other words, if you try and cook too many types of dishes, each one is going to be less nice.

Some previous reviewers have complained about the service, but we ordered at almost 2pm and there was only one other table, so I can't attest to that.

PS: Remember to make a reservation, especially if you have a big group. There isn't much seating space."
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