Friday funday brought me and my work friends to Bivouac for a project lunch. If you haven't been, it's a cute and funky decor venue on William Street in Northbridge opposite Jus Burgers and Is Donburi. The artwork on the walls is made of the things I would easily love for my own place; the vibe chilled out and set up for share foods, which they encourage.
Since I'm with my colleagues and Bivouac doesn't have as many tapas items on offer during the day compared to night, we all order a main dish each and a couple charcuterie boards to share ($25).
Sadly I didn't manage to snap a pic of the boards, but they're really great. Made up of slices of wagyu bresaola, grilled cacciatore sausage, jamon serrano, salami toscana, chicken liver pate, house pickles and toasted turkish bread.
The wagyu bresaola is not as tender as others I've had in the past, but it's full of taste - salty and just fatty enough to melt in your mouth. The cacciatore sausage is a definite highlight for the plate, oily and slightly spicy, it's cooked perfectly and smacks you in the mouth with flavour. I also really like the chicken liver pate. It's not as light as other pates I've had elsewhere, but it is delicious nonetheless. The pickled cabbage that accompanies it cuts through the creaminess and works a treat with the crusty turkish bread.
Jamon crusted whiting
For my main, I mull over the pan-fried gnocchi with beetroot, iberico, walnuts, currants and swiss chard - agonising over how great it sounds. However my heart has been won by a different dish, so I go the way of the jamon crumbed local whiting fillets with frites, rocket salad, cornichons and tarragon aioli ($29).
The whiting is cooked perfectly - flaky and soft, while slightly translucent in the centre. The jamon crumb is crunchy and flavoursome. It's actually a pretty damn smart dish and one worth getting if you ever visit Bivouac. My friend from work tells me that it's available at night as a tapas dish.
The frites have their skin on, and are nicely oily but with a good crispiness still. What I particularly like is the tarragon aioli. It's creamy and herby - and works well with the chips and the fish too.
The rest of the table mainly order the same as me, though I do get to try a bite of the "Ev Mantisi" which is handmade lamb filled turkish pasta with tomato, basil & sumac spiced sauce and tzatziki. It's doughy but in a good way - the lamb soft and soaking in juices. I could see myself ordering this next time I frequent this little canteen and bar.
When our mains are finished, we're all pretty full but we still decide to push through and order dessert. When in Rome and all that jazz.
My work colleague Bryan chooses the yoghurt pannacotta with orange & fig segments and pistachio cake ($14). He offers me a taste and I have to say, it is really great. The cake is moist and delicious; the pannacotta wobbly and just a little less solid than normal due to the yoghurt element. The fruit segments are acidic and sweet at the same time, offering needed freshness.
For my dessert, greed wins out and I opt for the trio of chocolate donuts with vanilla bean icecream ($14). It comes out in an amazing display - the donut balls sitting on different chocolate sauces. One berry, one cardamon and one cinnamon. The cinnamon is my favourite definitely. On top there's a scattering of rose pashmak, which is turkish fairy floss - and something I love a little too much.
The donuts are crisp on the outside but a little too doughy on the inside. They're quite dense for one person, but if this was shared it would work perfectly. The vanilla bean icecream is rich and thick - flecks of the vanilla bean dotting the white landscape.
Sadly I don't get through it but I offer it up to those on the table and eventually it's finished with happy smiles. And yes, I had to be rolled back to the office.
I have to say, this was my third trip back to Bivouac and all up I really enjoyed it. The flavours here are impressive; the ingredients fresh and tasty. While the prices are a bit on the high side for your weekday lunch, they do deliver with the goods. It's a great spot to chill out with a drink and indulge in some wonderful food.