On the main floor of the Franklin Hotel, in downtown St.John’s, lies a restaurant boasting authentic Mediterranean cuisine with a unique local twist.
Each time I walk past this restaurant my gaze is drawn in by the clean and modern floor-to-ceiling windows and each time, I am further intrigued by the open yet cozy-seeming atmosphere which lends itself to the consistently happy-looking diners lining the interior of the Black Sea Restaurant & Bar.
As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by a large well-lit, modern bar while the main dining room is situated to your right. The restaurant’s decor is minimal with colour-interest from accent walls, textural-interest from authentic red brick and visual-interest with various art pieces throughout.
We were seated immediately, thanks to having a reservation. Quite early into our evening, the restaurant began to fill-up.
As per usual, I started my dining experience by looking through the drink menu. The Black Sea has a nice assortment of delicious-sounding beverages, but with warm-weather on the rise, I was immediately drawn in by the White Wine Sangria.
I ordered the half pitcher of White Wine Sangria ($18) for myself and was incredibly pleased! The mix was perfectly flavoured with a unique focus on peach flavours (which was amazing) and loads of fruit – I even ate some of the fruit after the drink itself was gone.
I have been craving this fresh, crisp and flavourful drink ever since this meal – I can’t wait to return to get the full pitcher.
The dinner menu at the Black Sea is simple and sticks to its Mediterranean-based theme. With a selection of Soups, Salads, Appetizers, Evening Specials and Entrees there is something to please all diners.
We started our meal with the Retro Salad ($12). The premise of this salad is a popular one, which makes it a good opportunity to showcase the originality of the restaurant’s chef. This particular version featured Lebanese string cheese, spinach greens, quinoa, strawberries and toasted pecans with a sweet martini and pomegranate vinaigrette.
I was particularly intrigued by the lebanese string cheese and was disappointed to find the cheese I was presented with was in fact crumbled, not string. However, this did not affect the concept of the dish. The Retro Salad was fresh, seasonally appropriate and absolutely tasty.
For our second dish, we tried the Scallop Special (~$17) which featured 4 scallops in 3 different sauces. Overall, I loved this dish and would order it again.
The first sauce was a Cauliflower-Vanilla which featured a nice, smooth texture. I felt the vanilla was slightly too aromatic and did overpower the scallop, but I also appreciated the uniqueness of the flavour combination. It was an interesting experience!
The second sauce was an Avocado Thai Chilli Relish. The texture was slightly more chunky due to the avocado with a perfectly balanced flavour combination of sweet and spicy. This sauce was my favourite of the three.
The final sauce for the scallop dish was a Carrot Pepper Red Curry sauce. This rich, creamy sauce was also aromatic but was a lovely match to the perfectly seared scallop.
After these delicious starters, we were very excited to dig into our Entrees.
The first Entree we tasted was the Duck Confit ($33). This dish featured a traditional Duck Confit with a Cranberry Truffle Risotto and a Spicy Apple Gastrique. A ‘gastrique‘ involves a reduction of vinegar and sugar that can be infused with anything of your choice – in this case, Spicy Apple.
The duck itself was cooked to perfection and fell off the bone with a simple touch. The risotto side was creamy and rich which made a lovely companion to the duck confit. I would definitely eat this dish again!
The other Entree at our table was the Tandoori Chicken ($31). This dish featured Tandoori Chicken Supreme with Basmati Rice with a Mint and Coriander Chutney and a Micro Salad.
I loved the presentation of this plate – the micro salad especially was visually interesting and was fun to eat.
Similar to the Duck Confit, the chicken was tender, moist, full of flavour and fell apart easily. The spicy rub on the chicken was complimented nicely by the Mint and Coriander Chutney. If you are not a spice-lover, I would not recommend this dish. However, if you like spice, the Tandoori Chicken is a must-try! I certainly can’t wait to try it again.
We finished our meals with complete satisfaction and were absolutely impressed with each of the dishes we tasted. As per the claim of the Black Sea Restaurant, all of the dishes were based on traditional Mediterranean cuisine and featured fantastic unique twists.
Naturally, we couldn’t resist trying their dessert. If you’re trying a new restaurant and are impressed with your meal, I highly recommend trying their dessert – chances are, you’re going to be really happy about it.
We ordered the Baklava with Ice Cream. Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layered of filo, filled with chopped nuts which are sweetened while it all is held together with syrup or honey – which makes it incredibly sweet and just delicious.
I have had Baklava before, but this was the first time that I have had it warm and served with ice cream. The sweet and crispy layers of filo and honey were delectable and went perfectly with the traditional vanilla ice cream. I will be ordering this dessert again – in fact, I can’t wait.
We both thoroughly enjoyed our entire dining experience at the Black Sea. The food was authentic, well-presented and incredibly tasty. The service was genuine, helpful and although spotty at times, was enjoyable.
The decor was minimal, simplistic and allowed the food to speak for itself. The interior as a whole was an interesting mix of modern and traditional. I particularly enjoyed the exposed brick and the cozy feeling it imposed.
The only disappointment with my experience of dining at the Black Sea was that I hadn’t discovered it sooner! I’m eagerly awaiting a chance to return and taste more of this great menu.