In a state where one has a hundred food choices available, a restaurant must be a black sheep in order to stand out. True to its name, The Black Sheep Bistro is doing just that. Located in Panaji, this fusion restaurant is run by husband-wife duo, Prahlad and Sabreen who’ve worked in the hospitality line around the world.
The menu changes frequently, based on the season and ingredients available in the market as the pair believes in the ‘farm to table’ philosophy. Taking global inspiration, they give food their signature spin using local produce with the intention of promoting healthy food habits and lowering their carbon footprints. If you think their mission is admirable, wait till you see the food!
Chocolate glazed chicken, stuffed chorizo, quail eggs in kismur butter, seafood risotto, malwani mushroom stroganoff and chakri churros can possibly give you a glimpse of their exotic offerings at affordable prices. The appetizers and mains are quite impressive, to say the least!
Located just off 18th June Road in Panaji, from the outside, The Black Sheep Bistro looks looks like any other building – with classic pale yellow exterior walls. The interiors though, are thoroughly contemporary – beautifully combining old world charm with modernity.
You will be greeted by a floor to ceiling bar. As you move in, you will find a variety of paintings on the walls, both by local artists and world famous photographers. The seating options vary from among high bar stools, plush sofas or comfy chairs in the enclosed gallery. The dark wooden floors, subtle lighting and trendy music give one a feeling of being in a lounge and fine dining restaurant all at once
Prahlad and Sabreen give guests warm welcomes and stay to chat for a minute before recommending dishes off the menu. The service is brilliant and the staff know the menu thoroughly. Since I was seated in the outdoor gallery patio, I had a glimpse of the squeaky clean kitchen with Sabreen giving most dishes a finishing touch alongside the chefs.
The Black Sheep Bistro is pretty well known for their signature handcrafted cocktails, but they gladly tweaked them into mocktails for Mum and me.
AMANTE PICANTE – Originally made with tequila, fresh cucumber, mint, chilli and other signature ingredients, we had it minus the tequila. The drink had crisp, herbal flavors that were very refreshing. It had a satisfying balance of sweet and salty with a subtle spiciness added in the mix.
BLUSH – Pink, fruity and perfect for a girl’s night out – that’s Blush for you! This fizzy mocktail was made with pomegranate juice, citrus and mint. It’s not too sweet and packs a powerful punch.
IRANIAN LAMB ABGOOSHT ON TOAST –There’s more to Middle Eastern food than falafel, hummus and shawarmas! I love the way rustic lamb abgoosht got a classy makeover – it was served on crunchy garlic bread with a dollop of spicy harissa sauce on top, lest it’s too mild for the Indian palate. The lamb was so tender and creamy, on the verge of being a spreadable paste, with super tiny pieces of potato and beans. Can honestly say that a eating this took my imagination to a land of vividly coloured spices, dusty bazaars and smoky cafes.
KONKAN STYLED GRILLED CHICKEN BITES – A Goan version of Tandoori chicken, these little chicken pieces come marinated with konkan spices and an onion-tomato chutney on top. I thought it would have a hint of coconut to it, being Konkan, but it didn’t. Worth a try if you don’t like your food very spicy!
CRUDO OF FRESH FISH – I wouldn’t have considered ordering this, if Sabreen hadn’t coerced me to give it a try! The dish comprised of thinly sliced raw fish… yes, raw! It was drizzled over with Paan infused olive oil and sprinkled with almonds, fresh herbs and baby tomatoes. The cold ‘Modso’ fish was cut paper thin and had no aroma, but had a mildly salty taste. If you’re an adventurous eater, it’s worth a sample!
RED KISMUR FISH FILET – A Goan meal isn’t complete without fish… or dried fish in the monsoon. This dish combines them both in a lip-smacking-ly awesome way. The fish was delicate, juicy and cooked to perfection. It was coated with crunchy chilly-kismur (spicy dried prawns) all in a gorgeous sticky sauce. Below the fish were French Fries (or so I thought) until I ate one only to find that it was apple sliced to resemble chips! Tender, crunchy, sweet and tangy and on top of it all, beautifully caramelized. Highly recommended!
PORK CHOP WITH BARLEY – While the meat was well done, the dish badly needed some gravy. I would have really liked some sticky honey sauce or BBQ sauce to give it some moistness. Barley is not something you see a lot on Indian menus. It was simple, healthy and delicious, but again, needed the sauce.
CHOCOLATE – Just one dig into this ever-so-soft, dark chocolate cake! That’s all it took for hot, chocolate lava to come flowing out and flooding the plate. This ooey gooey cake was rich and fudgey without being oversweet. It was served with crème anglaise on the side which would have probably been better if served in a small bowl alongside as it was hard to scoop up with the spoon. You’ll probably need to share this with someone!
CHOCOLATE SALAMI – When I heard that The Black Sheep Bistro had chocolate salami, to say I was excited is an understatement. The last time I had it was when my grandma made it over 10 years ago – and I wanted the nostalgia feels so bad! It wasn’t the same though… the Nanz is pretty outstanding when it comes to dessert! Where hers was the size of coasters with teeny tiny biscuit flakes, this one was pretty small in comparison with large biscuit pieces. It came with candied orange peel and cream on the side and tasted ok.
The Black Sheep Bistro seems to have got the formula for a memorable meal spot on! A warm setting, great food, knowledgeable staff, focus on quality and value for money offerings are elements that can’t escape you.
Without a doubt, the best fusion restaurant in the sunshine state. If it’s not a part of your to-do list in Goa, take my word for it – you’re missing out! There are very few restaurants with an assured sense of individuality and identity – and this is one of them.
Cost for two – Rs. 2000/- without drinks
Till next time!!