Meet Our Head Chef Frankie Dawson

Meet Our Head Chef Frankie Dawson

Our head chef Frankie Dawson is one creative cookie. She’s cooked multiple cuisines in various London restaurants, including the top Middle Eastern venue The Barbary.

Frankie brings this wealth of experience to Bivouac. We’re lucky to have a chef who researches the origins of food and recreates these yummy dishes to share with the people of Perth.

With a new menu on the table, we spoke to Frankie about her experience as a chef and Bivouac's new menu. 

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Tell us about your journey as a chef? What’s been some of the highlights of your career?

I think being offered the head chef job here at Bivouac is a highlight for me. I had been hungry for my own kitchen for a while, but had been waiting for the right opportunity. I get a lot of creative freedom here, which is what all chefs want at the end of the day.

Your cooking has spanned many cuisines. What are your favourites to cook?

My mum is Anglo-Indian, so Indian has to be my favourite by a long shot. I grew up eating a lot of curry and watching my Grandma make Indian sweets and curry puffs. She would tell me stories about going to school with a tiffin carrier of curry and chapattis, and smuggling her pet monkey into class. So I was fascinated with the country from early on.

Each time I go to visit, I keep a diary of absolutely everything I eat, and am always referring back to that for flavour ideas and inspiration. I love Mughal style which was the regal cooking during the Persian rule. This includes dishes such as kofte, shish, raita, biryani and flatbreads. At The Barbary, I learned about Middle Eastern food, and realised how much crossover there was with Indian recipes. That opened up a whole new world for me. 

What’s the best part of working at Bivouac?

It has to be the team for sure. The kitchen and front of house team all work well together and have a lot of fun. Front of house have been really open to my ideas. It’s great to have a team who want to be part of the journey of discovering new ingredients and introducing them to our customers. There’s a team of strong independent women at Bivs. We’re all really supportive of each other and that forms a great bond. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does its pretty magic.

You’re also an artist. How do you weave your other creative processes into your cooking?

Haha. I’ve not been doing much drawing recently! I started a degree in printed textiles and one in illustration, but didn’t finish either. I was working in hospitality to support my studies until I realised hospo was where I belonged. I apply a lot of the skills I learnt studying art and design to kitchen work. You have to have self discipline for both and be prepared to immerse yourself in an idea or project. Studying design, you put a lot of research and experiments into a project. This is how I approach food. I throw myself into researching a culture or cuisine because I want to honour the traditions and techniques whilst putting my own spin on things.

You’ve just launched a new menu at Bivouac. Can you walk us through some of the dishes?

I’ve kept some of the favourites but given them a twist for the season change. There’s the inevitable return of the Cauliflower, which caused uproar when I took it off. Man, people go crazy for that vegetable! I’ve created a smoky, gluten-free Ajo Banco which sort of reminds me of a Vegan Taramasalata. It pairs really well with the sweet peppery vinaigrette that we douse the crispy cauliflower in.

Everyone is loving the Goat Nuggets. We also have a main of Slow Braised Goat Shoulders, shredded with herbs, spices, shallots and braising liquor before shaping and crumbing. It’s served with a Tunisian style Caponata.

The Palestinian Chicken is now served with some beautifully preserved lemon leeks and a rustic, skin-on babaganoush. I try to minimise wastage wherever possible, so if there’s part of a vegetable that’s edible and tasty, there’s no way that’s going in the bin. We put so much love into these chickens. They’re poached in master stock before drying out the skin for two days. We make a Palestinian 9-spice which we fold into butter and roast the chickens in.

We love the sound of Maakroun white bean, silverbeet & tomato sugo, pecorino. It sounds delicious! Can you explain what it is? 

So Maakroun is a pasta dumpling dish found in the mountain villages of Lebanon. It’s similar to gnocchi, and usually served very simply with garlic and olive oil. We’re serving ours with a ragu style sauce with Greek flavours. There are many versions of Maakroun over the Middle East, most of which are sweet biscuits or ‘Arabic’  – watch this space!

What’s your process when creating new dishes?

Hmm, it really depends on what’s caught my eye at the time. Sometimes I’ll start with one ingredient I want to use, and think about pairings, layers of flavour and textures. Other times, it will be a specific recipe or dish I want to play around with. I don’t really have a set process other than pages of notes that would look like gobbledygook to anyone else! I also have a library of cookbooks I refer to for inspiration. When I’m designing menus, my apartment will be sprawled with books opened and bookmarked at different pages. 

As you can see, we’re so lucky to have Frankie Dawson as head chef at Biv! Check out our new Winter menu here.




Meet our Artist Call-Out winner Pete Long

We have always loved featuring local artists on the walls at Bivs. Recently, we made a call out for artists to come up with a concept to reimagine the front windows of the venue.

Artist Pete Long totally nailed the creative brief for our soon-to-be window feature. It is very “Bivs”, encapsulating all the origins of our food and the cultures we’re inspired by.

We can’t wait for it to grace William Street.

We caught up with Pete for a little chat and to find out how he came up with the concept.

Pete Long local artist Bivouac


Congratulations! You’ll soon have your artwork front and centre at Bivouac. How does it feel being selected?

It feels amazing to have been selected by Bivouac for this opportunity, I’m glad I could create something that resonated with the venue.

What made you submit your work?

I submitted a design proposal because I work close by in the community and appreciate the unique venue, it’s food, coffee and staff, and it’s silly to pass up an opportunity to do something positive through art.

We noticed your Instagram feed says you’re returning to art. We’re glad you returned! Why the break and what brought you back?

It’s a bit of a sarcastic, self-depreciatory remark, referring to how I became pretty heavily wrapped up in the hospitality world. While I was studying I took a small role as a ‘glassie’ at a little cocktail bar and within a few years I was managing the whole joint, and the time I had for my own art was next to nothing. I decided to leave management and start trying to put more time into art and other creative projects.

You work at Ezra Pound, just across the road. And said you come in for coffees and banter with the staff. Any funny/interesting/nice stories to share?

I do, it’s a great little bar and I love working there. I also love the strong community feel of our Northbridge, and especially William Street, venues. The crews from all over are quick to loan equipment, bring coffees, cop a round. There is a real sense of appreciation amongst us. My favourite interaction with Bivouac is always loaning our citrus press in exchange for the best coffee in Northbridge, it seriously saves me on Saturday morning at the beginning of my double shift!

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We absolutely love your illustration – it’s so detailed and decorative, and suits Bivouac’s style so much. Can you walk us through your concept?

In bringing together this design I actually went through a few completely different starts before resetting and coming up with this concept, which is a combination of elements that come to mind for me when I think about the flavours and origins of the cuisine served up.

The proposal image that was selected was one half of the idea, of a goat semi-inspired by Mesopotamian carvings and art, adorned in pomegranate, honeycomb, dandelion, mint and octopus with a couple of bees in there. The second half will feature a lion head of similar origin and accoutrement to match and face the first, standing guard either side of the entrance.

How would you describe your other work?

I’m a sucker for overcomplicating everything, and getting really into detailed linework. The subject matter varies quite a lot and I would love to get around to completing all of the projects in my head. I am labouring away at a painting exhibition currently with some heavier themes, on a larger scale, and an aspect of dadaism performance art that hopefully causes a bit of an upset on the night!

You said if you were selected there would be an accompanying illustration to mirror the opposite window. Any ideas?

The second half will feature a lion head of similar origin, based off of Mesopotamian carvings and art, and similar accoutrement to match and face the first, standing guard either side of the entrance.

Any more plans for your art in the future?

Apart from the exhibition mentioned earlier, yes! When it’s eventually ready this will be my first solo exhibition, hopefully not the last. I am aiming to collaborate with businesses in similar opportunities to this one, I want to make merchandise and cool stuff, I’ve been building a board-game for about a decade… anything and everything if it helps support myself and lets me create art!

Follow Pete on Instagram @washedupartist.


Art Talk with Sarana Haeata

Sarana Haeata is a WA artist whose work spans across illustration, ceramics and the written word. She celebrates human diversity with a big dose of girl power. The paintings currently in Bivouac focus on the power of the female form with an interest in minimal line work.

We caught up with Sarana to chat about her new work and artistic life.

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We’re so happy to have your artworks gracing the walls at Bivs. Can you walk us through how this collection came about?
Thanks! I began toying with the idea of simple line drawings about a year ago. I wanted to create some more design focused works that could make a bold statement in a home setting - I think I was also really interested in limiting myself, as in limiting my colour palette and seeing how few markings I could make on the paper while still communicating a message.

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We love the simplicity of these paintings. They’re different to some of your other artworks. Any reason for this change?
I’d been working on a lot of quite dense artwork for some murals and kids illustrations, so I began craving large, spacious, ‘mature’ (for lack of a better word) art. I tend to have different art styles that I’m in to and explore at different times, although I never leave a particular style behind. I more just put in on hold until I feel like doing it again.

You paint, illustrate and create ceramics. Is there a discipline you prefer?
Ha! I wish. That would make my life much more simple. But no, I actually need all of them equally. Even though I feel like these disciplines are quite separate from each other, in a working sense one area tends to feed off another. So I can take breaks from painting and renew love for drawing, then I’ll transfer over to ceramics. I think if I did just one of the things I’d end up hating it. Maybe I just have a really short attention span...

What would you say are your top 5 creative inspirations?
Music is a big one. Other artists, live shows - either gigs or theatre works. Written works - usually kid’s books (they’re the best).  Dance is also a big inspiration for me.

Photo credit: Rhianna May

Photo credit: Rhianna May

You have three kids and one on the way. We’re impressed with how much work you get done. How do you balance showing up for your art and raising young children?
With great difficulty sometimes! Creating is kind of my default setting, so although I find that I’m busy a lot of the time, I also really enjoy what I do. Having said that I have to be pretty strict with myself about when I work. I no longer do anything outside of the kids school hours, and really the bulk of my art is created during my youngest’s nap time. I also have a ridiculously supportive husband and very hands on grandparents so that helps a bucket load.

Do you have a routine?
Yes and no, my routine is pretty much: baby awake -  play, see friends, have nice time. Baby naps - get as much done in the studio as humanly possible. Try to eat somewhere in there as well.

Image credit: Rhianna May

Image credit: Rhianna May

Tell us about your awesome studio – a train carriage!?
Yeah it’s a lovely 1950s wooden train carriage that my husband found on gumtree and we had plonked in the backyard. It’s definitely a necessity to have a studio at home while the kids are young, but one day I’ll move to a studio away from home and we can renovate it into some kind of sanctuary mecca.

You’ve exhibited before. But is it still a thrill seeing your work showcased in public?
Yep, I always find it equal parts nerve-wracking and exciting putting my work in front of the public, no matter what kind of show it is!

What’s new on the horizon (other than your new bubba!)?
I’ll be teaching some ceramics workshops at the beautiful Stackwood, I’m also working on my first kids book which is exciting! And I’d love to paint a whopping big mural in Hamilton Hill but I think I’ll have to push the baby out first before I get to that. But I’ll keep you posted!

You can follow Sarana Haeata at @saranahaeta or see what she’s up to on her website.




Art Talk with Adrian Perrine

Art Talk with Adrian Perrine

Last month Adrian Perrine launched his solo exhibition Wildergrim at Bivs. Our art curator Martin E Wills took a little time out to chat with Adrian about his recent works and life as an artist.  

The head with the stag and a pizza

The head with the stag and a pizza

You've got a successful illustration career ticking along, congratulations!  For those of us who might not be familiar with your work, where might we have seen it before?

Thanks to Bivouac for having me! Well I think around Perth you might have noticed my work most often on the art and branding for WAMFest, which is the annual music festival put on by West Australian Music, and it's a crazy good time ever year! I think people might have also just come across my work on Instagram.

What's the thread that ties all your work together?

The ongoing struggle and unlikely friendship between darkness and cuteness.

I'm really interested in how people nail down their style. When did it all come together for you, or do you still feel like it's all a work in progress? 

I've been drawing since I was a kid, but about 10 years ago is when the aesthetic I have now really started to develop. And it's changed and evolved over that time. I see it as a work in progress because I always want to do better than I did before. Sometimes that means refining it, and sometimes it's trying something different.

So, what's your process? How do your images start, and how do you know when something's finished?

For my personal artwork I rarely ever sketch anything, I just sit at my computer and start drawing. So there is a real element of spontaneity and emotion to what I make even though it's digital. I do a piece in one session usually but often I come back to earlier designs to add to them or revitalise them. Whether something is finished is just a feeling I get, sometimes I'm satisfied and sometimes more work is required.

The head with a bottle and penguins

The head with a bottle and penguins

Which artists or designers do you have hanging on the walls at your place? 

I have a Mike Mignola limited edition print of Dracula and Frankenstein's monster I can't wait to frame and get up there. Other than that it's mostly vintage illustrated film posters and some photos and artworks by friends and my partner.

Some creatives find Perth challenging. Why do you think that is, and how are you faring here?

I'm actually not sure. I mean I think trying to be successful as a creative anywhere is usually pretty challenging! But I've been fortunate to find an audience online and a few jobs through friends and contacts that helped a lot with exposure.

Any advice for young illustrators who might envy your success?

It's different for everyone in terms of what success is. In my thinking I'm not there yet actually. But you should focus on working hard, developing an aesthetic that is you, being professional and being nice to people.

Where can people follow your work and buy your prints?

Instagram is my main online presence. Prints and other info you can find at wildergrim.com.

And finally... What are you doing over the Christmas period, and can I come along?

I will be playing a lot of PC and PS4 games! Definitely welcome to join me online :)

Art Talk with Naomi Corteen

Last month Naomi Corteen launched her solo exhibition Non-Fiction Fantasies at Bivs. Our art curator Martin E Wills took a little time out to chat with Naomi about her recent works and life as an artist.  

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Congratulations on the successful opening night of your new exhibition "Non-Fiction Fantasies"! How are you feelin?
Honestly the validation that you receive from a successful opening night is so uplifting - I’ve been buoyed up by both the support of friends and other artists in the community, as well as of family. The show opened about a month after I got home from a two month stint in the UK and Europe, and my travels had me thinking a lot about the general state of the arts in Perth - I feel spurred on to get the wheels rolling on a bunch of new projects, all with a renewed faith and love in the artistic community in our little city.

How long did this show take to come to fruition?
I started on the earliest of these pieces in 2016, and slowly built up the current collection over the last two years. Collage is something that I will sit down to do either when I’m brimming with a particular emotion that I want to channel forth, or when I simply feel like the repetitive motions of selecting, cutting out, and arranging will serve to calm my mind. So all up it’s been a two year process.

"Non-Fiction Fantasies" is an evocative title. Can you elaborate?
When grouping all of these pieces together I wanted to reference the source material - books, periodicals, annuals etc. So it’s a sort of play on genre, and a reference to the fact that overwhelmingly the source material would be of a non-fiction nature - National Geographics, science annuals, biographies, educational materials, but the content of those publications has been removed from its original context and reimagined. The process of collage making has often helped me to access notions and feelings that were mostly residing in my subconscious, hence the “Fantasies” element of the title.

When did you start making collage and what draws you to the medium?
I began working with collage in 2014. I had taken a long hiatus from making art due to burnout and long running issues with crippling perfectionism. Collage took away all the mental pressure that I had put on myself around drawing and painting by giving me ready made images to work with, and the means to have fun with the creative process again. My early work is mainly just centered around fun and inconsequential ideas, and the more contemplative and complex pieces slowly emerged as my practice developed.

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How do you even start when you're creating an artwork?
I have some themes that I enjoy expressing over and over again - the feeling of hope that science fiction and scientific discovery inspire in me, mental health and the journey toward self knowledge, betterment of the self and society, and the historical context or nostalgia that is always going to imbue an old publication - so if I’m not creating from a base image with a specific situation or emotional experience in mind, I’ll have those themes to start from, and will collect images that echo those themes. Then I just start arranging working from background to foreground, and a cohesive image will either come or it won’t!

I also have a filing system of images that I find symbolic or evocative - birds, animals, mountains, and so on, that I can go to instead of trawling for hours through my collage books. That idea actually came from a friend who mentioned that Joan Rivers would file her jokes away by subject matter so that she always had inspiration for material close at hand, and if there’s anyone who I’m going to model a career off it might as well be her!

When you're not in the studio, what are you up to?
I’m an avid reader, another reason why working from books makes so much sense to me. My other major hobby/passion is hunting in op-shops for vintage clothing, I’m obsessed with the history that clothing and objects can contain and represent. I love that anything produced in the last hundred years will represent some aspect of its historical context in its design, and the availability of such things to a collector. Plus, I run a vintage clothing market stall so that I can share that passion with others! And maybe also to prevent the collecting from overrunning my house!

Where can we see more of your work?
I’m most active on Instagram as @noam_chumpsky_art but this exhibition has spawned another project, so I’ll also be exhibiting again in the next six months. Thanks Bivouac!

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Biv Exhibition - 0718 - DZuks - 7.jpg

Biv Cha Returns this Sunday

BIV CHA

BIV CHA is back for three Sunday sessions during Fringe World and Perth Festival! 

Chef has shaken up a new menu for Biv Cha. We're talkin' yum cha heroes like prawn shumai, pork belly, soft shell crab and egg tarts. Even chicken feet! Check out the all-star lineup below.

Experience Bivs off your trolley and get amongst yum cha inspired eats and bubble tea cocktails. 

Sunday 4 Feb
10am - 2pm
BOOK NOW

Sunday 18 Feb
10am - 2pm
BOOK NOW

Sunday 4 Mar
10am-2pm
BOOK NOW

Bookings recommended!
Don't worry... in true yum cha style,
you'll be able to walk in, grab a number and we'll find you a table.

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Biv Cha

Festive Bivness

Bivouac Christmas Function

What do you want your Christmas wind-up to look like?
 
Laid-back, fun and a little out of the ordinary...
 
Then Bivs is for you.  Feast like a boss and let us take care of your group with a delicious journey through the Middle East, sampling wines you’ve never seen before and cocktails you won’t forget. 

Our Chef Feed Me menu will have everybody covered but if you prefer the choices don’t stress we do that too! We can chop and change the menu with packages from $35-$65 catering for groups of up to 30 peeps. Drink packages start at $29 for 3 hours. No matter the budget or flavour, we'll look after you (and any vego and gluten free friends too!). 

The hot dates in December are filling up fast.
Make an enquiry for a Private Function HERE.  

Bivouac Christmas Function

Art Talk with Tim Meakins on 'Always Alive'

Tim Meakins
Tim Meakins

Last month Tim Meakins launched his first solo exhibition Always Alive at Bivs. We took a little time out to chat with Tim about his recent works and life as an artist.  

Tim Meakins

Hey Tim Meakins. How are you? 
Hi! Im very well, feeling healthy and strong. Had an apple this morning as well. 

Congratulations on 'Always Alive' and thanks for gracing Bivs' walls with your artwork.
Thank you and thanks for having me!

So we know you're a talented and in-demand young designer and a great artist. Where did your connection to the arts start?
The connection started very early for me, I realise that now but at the time I never perceived it as something I wanted to do. I was always heavily into comics and wanted to draw superheroes but never had the natural talent or patience. When I started to study design it became very clear that I finally had the 'want' to create. I think all I needed was a platform and in this case was a computer, eventually it became an obsession and here we are today.  It was not until very recently I started to paint the illustrations and with the help of people like Martin E Wills was able to create for an audience. Feels good. 

What or who inspires you?
I honestly think anything and anyone really. I am heavily inspired on how people perceive items or objects. The components and intricacies that make up the item to help us conceive what that 'thing is'. Hopefully that makes sense haha. But really people, places, objects, how people act, emotions, food, anything. 

If you were to describe your work in three words, what would they be?
Haha you already know whats its gonna be, its always cute, sometimes I'm unsure if cute is a good thing but thats just my thing I guess. Colourful, Cute and Playful.

Some people might think simple work is easy. What would you say to them? 
I would say simple work can be easy, but also think simple is the hardest thing to create. I come from a heavy design background and imprinted in my mind are these principles that constantly allow me create but in a way box me in. Now I'm not saying its a bad thing, the box is super chill and allows me to think in a different headspace to access all the fundamental ideas that I would when designing a publication for instance. The box is a good thing. But simple design to me is problem solving. Thats why its hard. Its also a preference idea, I enjoy simple effective design so thats how my illustration and art should reflect. Also have a strange obsession with balance.  

Tim Meakins

What are you listening to right now?
Listening to a producer called Indian Wells from Italy.

Where can your new fans see your work next?
Instagram is probably the best way to keep updated with me, have a bunch of new projects underway so some new things on the rise. @tim__meakins

Thank you Tim!
No thank you!

Head into Bivs to check out Always Alive over a graze and gabble. 

Launching 'Always Alive' by Tim Meakins

Launching 'Always Alive' by Tim Meakins

Tim Meakins is a graphic designer and visual artist from Perth. His playful work brings life to the cold geometries of vector-based design through cheeky anthropomorphic detailing and punchy colour palettes. 'Always Alive' is Tim Meakins first solo exhibition, curated by Martin E Wills.

You'll find the these pops of colour and fun on the walls at Bivouac until Sat 10 June.

Have a peek of images from Opening Night on Monday 13 March, proudly supported by Gage Road Brewing and Bivs. Photo credits: Dwight O'Neil - @poyce.

Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays

Get your chills at the notorious B.I.V as Happy Mondays returns on Monday!

90s prices and 90s tunes every Monday through Fringe from 5pm til late. 

Head in for ghost chops or a Thom Yum or three. 

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Fresh out of the box

Fresh out of the box

We've popped the menu in the toaster and it's come out hotter than pop-tarts...
and it's landed just in time for festival season. 
Check out the next level yums!

Daytime
Evening

There's a new chef in town and she's got a mad sweet tooth. Word is the Fried Donuts stuffed with milk jam and other good'ns are the perfect after party pleasures. 

Biv's top 5 hits for Fringe

Biv's top 5 hits for Fringe

Get those guides out and buckle in as Fringe World and PIAF land in Northbridge!  It all kicks off on Friday Jan 20th and we can't wait. We've rounded up our top 5 hits for for Fringe:

Djuki Mala - indigenous dance and YouTube sensations tells their story story in a high-energy show. Energetic, hilarious and unique. 27 Jan - 14 Feb

Monroe & Associates - this theatrical role-playing game for one sells out every year! It's like nothing else you've experienced at Fringe, step into Frankie's Caravan and solve the crime. 20 Jan - 12 Feb

Briefs - this dazzling sell-out doesn't disappoint. An all male, sharp shooting cabaret of burleseque and balls. Aussie Cirque du Soleil meets Ru Paul's drag race... nuf said. 25 Jan - 14 Feb

Uta Uber Kool Ja - a rock'n'roll hotel room after-party like no other, in the deluxe and to-die for Aloft suite smack bang in the middle of Fringe. Round up a little posse, it's cray cray. 20 Jan - 5 Feb

Nautilus - taking mime and physical comedy to the next level. Tygve Wakenshaw has been dubbed a 'living cartoon' leaving his 'audience slack-jawed with admiration'. Winning a bucket load of awards this one is not to be missed. 27 Jan - 4 Feb

See you down in Biv-town for your Fringe binge real soon!