Two Standout Dishes & An Awesome Bottle of Red @ Bivouac Canteen & Bar, Northbridge, W.A.

A little while ago, A and I headed to Bivouac Canteen in Northbridge with a group of friends. I had been itching to go since A’s work colleague gave A a concise run-down of his recent meal at Bivouac and it sounded really good. A’s friends wanted to head out to dinner before having drinks at Ezra Pound and they decided Bivouac would be a perfect place to eat at, seeing as though they are conveniently across the road from each other.

Bivouac suggests its patrons to share dishes and the menu highlights this. I like the concept and think that it’s executed well, as each dish can easily be shared between two (no chopping things in half or divvying up five pieces between two). They also pace the plates, so you won’t get bombarded with the four plates you ordered all at once. However, if you are really adverse to sharing, the menu does have a selection of larger plates for you to choose from.

There is a special mention on the menu that Bivouac endevours to use free range, organic and local produce where possible. If you have nut allergies, require gluten free, vego options or any special dietary requests the menu suggests you speak to a waitstaff and something will be sorted out, so never fear if you look at the menu and can’t see anything that suits your dietary requirements.

There were three of us at the table that felt like red wine, so we decided to order a bottle to share. The wine list is comprehensive and has some excellent international and domestic offerings. It was my suggestion to order a bottle of the Babo Italian Sangiovese ($45) and I have to say, I was quite glad I did. It is now on my wine list on CFJ, as it is a smooth and light-bodied sangiovese wine. So smooth, in fact, that I was guilty of polishing off half the bottle by myself without realising!

For the food, A and I decided we’d share the Charcuterie Board ($22), Haloumi & Pear Salad ($13.50) and the Green Bean Salad ($15.50). The other guests on the table ordered similarly however a few extras were the Eggplant chips ($9.50) and the Firo Di Latte Pizza ($21).

I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when the chacuterie board arrived at the table. It consisted of wagyu bresaola, serrano style air dried pork, salami toscana, olive mortadella, ham hock terrine, pickles & char grilled sourdough, however the combination of it all it was a bit dry. The cold cuts were all good quality and tasted nice, but I did expect a bit more ‘oomph!’. The terrine was also a bit drier than others I’ve had but overall it was substantial. There also wasn’t enough bread for A and I and to be honest, I wouldn’t order it again.

The grilled haloumi, caramelised pear, mesclun, pistachio & pomegranate molasses salad got thumbs up from A and I. A was quick off the mark with the haloumi so unfortunately I missed out however A did say that it was cooked nicely and went with the pear perfectly. The mesclun with the pear and pistachio was a really nice combination and the seasoning was light. A lovely salad to accompany our charcuterie plate.

The Green Bean Salad was the daily “salad bowl” special and A and I were quite happy with this dish as well. There were green beans, potatoes and roasted pine nuts in a light dressing.

I have to say, my eyes wondered to the other side of the table when the eggplant chips arrived. I was lucky enough to be offered one and I had to say yes, regardless of the serving being quite small and the plate being shared by two people. They were great chips – soft and suble but with an amazing undertone of flavour. The saffron aoili was a great accompaniment and I would definitely return just for these chips. There is nothing like them in Perth (that I have found) and definitely worth a try if you are a lover of eggplant!

I also managed to have a few slices of the Firo Di Latte Pizza that was ordered. It was a basic pizza of mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil and rocket but it was made well and was lovely in taste. The girls who ordered it seemed to be content with their choice.

Another standout for the night (apart from the eggplant chips) was the Deconstructed Tiramisu ($13.50) that one of the girls ordered for dessert. Bivouac states that it is ideal for sharing but I would happily eat it by myself. There were three individual elements on a long plate: savoiardi biscuits, crema della duchessa & café marsala in a little cup. The ideal is to dip the savoiardi biscuits in the café marsala and then the crema della duchessa – the result is amazing! The café marsala was super strong and made the savoiardi biscuits loosen up and become soft. Then with the crema della duchessa on top it turned into a heavenly tasting bite which definitely reminded me of tiramisu but it was was less sloppy (which I prefer).

The restaurant gets quite busy and due to limited windows and an open space design, it does get quite loud inside. The design inside is really funky and I especially like the idea of sharing the space with emerging artists. The walls are full of new talent and the art changes regularly.

All in all, I liked Bivouac. The wine list had some great options and there were two standout dishes of the night – the eggplant chips and the deconstructed tiramisu. A huge recommendation from CFJ to check out these two dishes and the Babo Sangiovese wine when you are next in Northbridge.

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