White guys doing Asian food. It was a big trend in recent years – and one I think effectively showcases the impact of fusion flavours (when done right). While we’ve said goodbye to one of my all time faves (Mary’s), Bivouac is the latest to put their hat in the ring and have reproduced an age old Aussie Sunday tradition. Yum Cha. Or in their case, Bivcha.
Held for one day in September between 11am and 4pm, the popular Northbridge eatery saw people flocking to the venue. Me included of course!
With some of my favourite girls in tow, we descended upon the food and drink like hungry animals. 11am doors opened and we were there, bubble teas (watermelon for me, coffee for the girls) immediately requested.
I love a cheeky mimosa with brunch every now and then, so this was a fun alternative to toast the morning.
Food circulated on large trays for us to order from as it passed by, which was reminiscent of traditional yum cha minus the carts (no way could they have fit them in!). The sugar cane pork skewers ($12.00) were the first thing we tried: smokey, flavoursome and delicious.
Following on was the vego bibimbap ($15.00) which was made to order and had mixed rice, vegetables, pickles and chilli sauce. It was a real crowd pleaser. The smoked bacon and tofu kimchi soup ($8.00) was less of a winner. While taste wise it packed a punch, it wasn’t a realistic dish to share and ended up being somewhat problematic to eat without smaller bowls or spoons.
The cabbage roll ups ($8.00) were like an Asian dolmade in description and in execution too. They were one of my favourites – so morish I could have eaten another plate just on my own.
The twice cooked short ribs ($15.00) with sautéed greens were braised to perfection and fell apart with a simple prod of our chopsticks. I would have loved the option to add on a side of steamed bao to enjoy it with – it was begging to be wrapped up and dunked in extra sauce.
The absolute star of the day was the Korean fried chicken with honey butter sauce. It was an absolute knockout – the batter crispy, the drumsticks well seasoned and THAT SAUCE. It was some kind of addictive heaven.
I can only hope this makes it to the regular Bivouac menu somehow. I want it readily accessible at all times.
We finished up our savoury bites with the crispy pork belly with chilli caramel, mint and apple ($15.00), and the braised goat shoulder dumplings ($12.00). I was really looking forward to the dumplings – in fact our entire table was. After all, yum cha for me is dumpling heaven so I think if Bivouac do this again they need to add more dumplings to the menu offering. And these ones I think need a bit of tweaking – they lacked any Asian flavour and the filling was a touch too dry. A solid attempt, but for this girl who was raised on dumplings, I was left wanting.
Satisfied with the overall offering we were feeling pretty full at that stage but we decided to try the two desserts on the menu as well. After all, dessert is a different stomach – right?
The bao doughnuts ($6.00) with pear and caramel filling and puffed quinoa looked incredible and had so much potential. But they were just too savoury for me, and needed something creamy to elevate the bites. But the rice pudding ($6.00) with coconut and mandarin was a completely different story. It was SO yum, and had great texture and zest from the use of the fruits. I loved it, and it was the perfect way to finish up our Bivcha experience.
Trying a new approach to yum cha was a fun way to kick start our Sunday and spend time with friends. From the bubble tea to the bibimbap and short ribs, there were some great things happening. So here’s hoping they make this a regular occurrence. After all, I’m still dreaming about those damn Korean wings.