Sunday, April 13, 2014

Restaurant review: Bar Bar Black Sheep, Cluny Court @ Bukit Timah

This was my third visit to Bar Bar Black Sheep. All three times, I've been to the outlet at Cluny Court in Bukit Timah. The other three outlets are at Robertson Quay, Tanjong Katong and Cherry avenue. This cafe/bar/restaurant (I don't really know how to categorize it!) is a good place to unwind with friends for drinks and a vast selection of food. It is seemingly quite popular with the expatriates living in Singapore. BBBS offers Thai, Western and North Indian dishes off three separate menus, so it caters to people who wish to sample dishes from these three diverse cuisines.

Since we were a large group of 15 friends and it was a friday evening, we made a reservation in advance. The Cluny Court outlet is located right outside the exit of the Botanic gardens MRT on the circle line, so it is very easily accessible.

The interior is eye-catching with an interesting layout, color scheme, good lighting, colorful chalkboards, mirrors, a brick wall and knick knacks. 

Since I went with a large group of friends, we ended up ordering a LOT of food. I didn't see a lot of the dishes that were at the far end of the table so I just passed my camera around and my friends did the clicking for me! Despite that, I think we missed a few dishes. Sorry for not providing the detailed description and price of each specific dish.

From a previous recommendation and our previous dining experience, we ended up ordering more off the Indian menu. For starters, we ordered some tikkas and kebabs. 

For the main course, some ordered from the Western menu while the rest of us stuck to Indian dishes. These were the only two Western dishes that were ordered - fish and chips and the char-grilled chicken chop. It was supposed to be the standard western fare and nothing you wouldn't get elsewhere. 

I was in the mood for a portobello mushroom burger but unfortunately they were out of it so I ended up ordering garlic naan with aloo gobhi. The garlic naan was really good. However, I was disappointed with the aloo gobhi because it lacked flavour and it hardly had any gobhi (cauliflower) in it. 

The mushroom masala was decent and the friend who ordered it, finished all of it. 

The vindaloo was quite popular. One end of the table ordered the mutton vindaloo and the other ordered the chicken version. The feedback for both was quite good and they were polished off. 

The butter chicken was probably good because I saw a clean bowl on the table. But at this point, I started to feel that all the curries looked suspiciously similar like your typical generic "curry" and from an Indian's point of perception, I didn't really think any of them were authentic tasting. 

The lemon rice was apparently quite ordinary (although I have no idea why anyone would order lemon rice in a restaurant in the first place!). 

Two of my friends ordered the chicken biryani but they weren't too impressed by it. Everyone has their take on what a good biryani should look and taste like and it is probably one of those dishes that many places find difficult to get right. 

My closing statements are - THE GOOD: the restaurant is tucked in a secluded corner which makes it a nice place to hang out away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The ambience of the restaurant is chilled out and relaxed. BBBS takes bookings but walk-ins are also welcome. I understand that they also offer takeaway and catering. It is great that you can order dishes from the three separate kitchens and just pay once at the end. The prices are typically mid-range and the drinks can be considered quite affordable in comparison to other places. THE BAD: I felt the standards at Bar Bar Black Sheep have dropped considerably. The food was much better the previous times that I was here. I remember the service also to have been heaps better. But since I had fabulous company, I did not pay much attention to the fare and service. The restaurant can get noisy and crowded on weekends so be prepared to shout to be heard over the din! On the subject of drinks, I must mention that some of the beers that my friends had ordered had passed the expiration date. When a friend pointed it out to the management, they apologized  profusely and didn't charge it to the final bill (which was nice of them so not all bad).

For the ambience alone, I would recommend this place for friends, colleagues, couples and even families. Don't have too much expectations when it comes to the food though.

My rating for BBBS is 2.5 out of 5 stars

Bar Bar Black Sheep

86 Robertson Quay #01-04 
Tel: + 65 6836 9255

879 Cherry Avenue 

362 Tanjong Katong Road
Tel: +65 6348 8275 

501 Bukit Timah Road (Cluny Court)
Tel: +65 6763 4757 



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