Sunday, March 1, 2015

Restaurant Review: Manny Gonzalez Reviews Black Sheep Restaurant, Taguig, Philippines

Some people think the Philippines is a poor country, and it is; but Metro Manila has all the amenities of a metropolis, including expensive shops, restaurants, hotels, housing, and so on.  

When I was there, I went to a couple of high end restaurants in Makati: The Black Bird, and Sala, which I critiqued briefly. Just to reiterate, The Black Bird had wonderful ambiance and service, but the meal portions were very small. Sala was fair. In balance though, these restaurants are really very expensive to those earning in Pesos.  

Our Guest Blogger, Manny Gonzalez, reviews another high end restaurant in Metro Manila, the Black Sheep RestaurantThis article first appeared in Trip Advisor and is reprinted by permission of the author. A resident of Whistler, Canada, Manny Gonzalez is a Director/shareholder at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan, Philippines. ~ Cecilia Brainard

Review by Manny Gonzalez

Black Sheep Restaurant - 1 Star
Penthouse at W. Fifth Avenue, corner 32nd St. and 5th Avenue
Taguig City, Luzon, Philippines

This is a chic, very pricey restaurant that reminds me of the Emperor's Clothes fairy tale (about swindlers who convince the Emperor and his court that only really classy, worthy people can see the Emperor's new clothes, hence no one would admit to seeing that the Emperor was in fact naked). A few people early on said it was Heavenly, and now would-be Foodies feel obliged to nod assent, or they are accused of "not understanding inventive cuisine".

I have eaten in some of the world's best restaurants in Europe, the US, and Asia, and have no hesitation in saying: This Emperor has no clothes.

To quickly give a rundown, I would grade Black Sheep as follows:

Food Presentation: B

Food Taste: Variable, from F to B. The attempt at "molecular" was not remarkable, the Aklan beef was an outright failure, with no taste at all. The solitary oyster was okay. A "Filipino vegetable medley" called Bahay Kubo was interesting, though not all of us (we were seven) liked it. Dessert was "trying too hard to be elegant" - not enough to sink your teeth into, just sprinklings of this and dustings of that.

Wine: B (short list, moderate markup of about 100%, disorganized presentation)

View: A (Taguig skyline)

Dining Comfort: D (tables and chairs badly-designed and uncomfortable, no knee room, cubicle approach isn't my idea of why I dine out)

Decor: C (smoky black with oatmeal, assorted kinds of lighting). The restaurant is very dark, and the menus are in fine print. Only 20-year-olds with 20/20 vision can read the menus unaided, and the waiters have been equipped with flashlights to help everyone else out.

Service: D (waiter was obviously well-trained and conversant with the limited menu, but instead of conveying class and polish, came across as a carnival hawker; would only speak Tagalog, even when spoken to in English; talked down to us, as if we were some kind of children to be instructed; talked too much - evidently the restaurant management are aware their food is deficient, and teach the waiters to talk your head off so you don't notice).

A 5-course set dinner is priced at P 1900, and if you pay P 1900 more (which four of us opted to do), you get to substitute the rather ordinary main courses with an "Aklan beef" (Aklan is a Philippine province). That comes to P 3800, or US$85 per person, before drinks or tip. That's the price of a good steak in a top Manhattan steak-house, and there are many high-end restaurants in Paris, Rome, or Barcelona, where you could get out for less. It would be okay if the food were remarkable or even solid, but the Aklan beef had no taste at all, which of course should not have surprised us since the Philippines has never been noted for raising good, or even passable, beef. We had reasoned that, since this supposedly top restaurateur chose it, we would be pleasantly surprised by some kind of artisanal Filipino beef, but no such luck.

At P 1900 per person, Black Sheep would be okay just for a "try it once" experience and the view. The extra P 1900 for the beef was a deliberate rip-off, designed to squeeze double the cash out of diners who wanted more than the "chicken and pork" selection for the 4th course.

Read also
Manny Gonzalez Reviews Barcelona Restaurants
 Travel: Eiffel Tower Madness!
    Tags: food, drink, restaurants, Philippines, Manny Gonzalez, travel, reviews, gourmet, Black Sheep, Taguig

This is all for now,

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