The newly commissioned Yagan Square has finally given Perth’s CBD a direct link to Northbridge and a chance for city-based foodies to appreciate a new clutch of nearby restaurants. Bivouac, just over the railway line from the CBD, is one. Under Kiwi chef Ainé Neylon’s assured hand, this urban gem turns out some of WA’s best Middle Eastern-inspired dishes.
Neylon’s slow-roasted goat shoulder, transformed into a pull-apart masterpiece via cartouche, sophisticated spicing and hours in an oven, will make you wonder why we don’t eat more of the gamey protein. It drops from clean bones.
Sides pop with colour and simplicity – pickled green chilli, red onion and arak cucumbers with yoghurt provide a cool counterpart to rich meats and deeply spiced dishes. Try cauliflower, pistachio and saffron-poached pear shawarma, doused in a sweet, salty and fresh pomegranate dressing and with a toss of charred vegetables and pickled grapes.
Or heady pan-fried Spanish mackerel draped with basturma (cured beef) on greens with a fragrant black butter and lime sauce. Even humble Jerusalem artichokes are given a night out with blackened chillies, preserved cumquat and a creamy, soupy almond-based pottage.
While the decor is plain and stripped back, the front of house team are pros, delivering some of the smoothest service in town. Not easy in a boisterous restaurant that has two sittings each night. And for the adventurous, there’s a chef’s grazing menu for $59 per head, making Bivouac one of the best value-for-money entries in this year’s Top 50.