Review: Black Cat Bistro

Last evening we had the pleasure of attending the South African Winemaker's Dinner at The Black Cat Bistro.  The event was hosted by DGB Wines of South Africa.  The chef was Patricia Larkin.  Now, onto the food!

First Course:  Seared Scallop Amuse with surprise garnishes paired with Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2008.  The scallop was cooked perfectly - the surprise garnishes were chives, a slice of roasted beet, pine nuts and a puree which might have been cauliflower (it was delicious though!).  Very nicely presented and the flavours and textures in the small bowl complimented each other very well.

Seared Scallop Amuse

Second Course:  Duck Confit Salad with honey and crispy shallots paired with Boschendal The Pavillion Shiraz Cabernet 2009.  A beautiful mound of fresh mixed greens and tender shreds of duck confit, arrived at our table.  The honey drizzle around the edge of the plate was a nice touch to match the acidity of the dressing.  (Just before this course, they served some bread and butter - the butter tasted a little sweet, we suspected the addition of honey - went well with the duck).  I could have eaten another bowl of this, so had to force myself to eat slowly and savour each bite.

Duck Confit Salad

Third Course:  Classic Beef Tartare paired with Brampton Shiraz 2007.  Considering the last beef tartare I had was this past summer in France, and it was disgusting, this was a very nice beef tartare.  This is one of those dishes for me that tells me what kind of chef is in the kitchen.  The beef was carefully hand cut and had all the flavours you would expect from a good tartare.  A nice fine dice of all the ingredients and a nice texture.  It held together very nicely, without the addition of gloopy (yes, that is a word!) binders.  It scooped beautifully onto the crostini - which was super crisp and thinly sliced.  Most excellent!

Clssic Beef Tartare
Fourth Course:  Grilled Lamb Loin with polenta, cauliflower, lemon, black olives, parsley, green beans, almonds and preserved lemon paired with Boschendal Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.  The flavour combination here was astounding - olives and almonds together in the same dish?  But yet it worked somehow.  The caramelized char on the cauliflower was very nice.  The fried polenta was very good.  I have had friend polenta before, but this one gets top marks for being crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  The lamb was a touch undercooked for me, and a touch under seasoned, however, the olives and preserved lemon drizzle provided the seasoning I was looking for.  The green beans were a little on the al dente side as well.   I did eat the entire dish, so the flavours worked for me in the end.

Grilled Lamb Loin
Fifth Course:  Dark Chocolate Pave with creme anglaise paired with Boschendal Vin d'Or 2008.  I only had a small taste of this cake and the creme anglais (I am not a big fan of dessert).  The texture of the cake was velvety smooth, rich, dark and dense.  Everything one looks for in...a dessert.  The creme anglaise was perfect.  This is one of my favourite sauces to accompany a dessert, because when it's right, it's delicious.  It can easily go horribly wrong - too much vanilla, cooked egg taste, too thick.  This one was perfect.  The Vin d'Or was a nice compliment - the sweet acidity of the wine was a nice palate cleanser between bites of cake.  It was also not as sweet as some dessert wines can be.

Dark Chocolate Pave
The evening was a success for me and my dinner companions.  Kudos to Chef Larkin - she did a great job on the wine pairings.  The courses flowed in a timely fashion and winemaker Thinus Krüger's wine expertise was a nice addition to the evening.  Now that I have had a chance to dine here, I do plan on returning.  

Black Cat Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm glad to hear it's up to it's reputation! I have been longing to go here for a while now, just waiting for a special occasion cuz it's spendy. Glad you had a great gastro time!

  2. It is spendy... but it doesn't have to be. They have the best burger in town IMO and it's only $20 (comes with fries). You can have the burger and a glass of wine for $30.