Menu - Mr Yum
Auckland’s isthmus setting means that water is never far away and with it, the opportunity to dine with a sea view. Bivacco occupies the prime Viaduct Harbour site that was formerly home to well-known bar Headquarters. It’s owned by successful hospitality company Savor Group (Movida, Amano which gave the sprawling space a thorough makeover.
Open seven days from 11am until late, Bivacco is designed to be whatever you need, whenever you need it. That might be a pre-dinner catch-up with friends at aperitivo hour, woodfired pizzas with the family on a Sunday afternoon, or a long, slow lunch with plenty of wine on a Friday afternoon off.
The kitchen is headed up by chef Ryan Moore, who has been at the helm of Auckland fine diner The Grove for the last two and a half years. Originally from the UK, Moore was sous-chef for six years at Michelin-starred restaurant John’s House in Leicestershire prior to The Grove.
The menu itself is divided into seven sections – cured meats, antipasti, pizza, pasta, larger plates, sides and dolci. The genre is obviously Italian, but with plenty of twists, such as a take on an insalata Caprese that adds toasted buckwheat and finger limes to the usual heirloom tomatoes, torn mozzarella and basil. The carpaccio is sublime; meltingly soft slices of beef are dolloped with truffle emulsion and pickled enoki mushrooms, and sprinkled with wild garlic salsa verde and freshly picked flowers.
Pasta is made fresh in-house every day and other dishes range from a hearty Wakanui bone-in sirloin to a light, chilled seafood dish where tender mussels, calamari, scallops and prawns are paired with a vibrant salsa verde.
You can see chefs stationed at the deli counter, a large open station that sits between the restaurant and the bar, plating up cold dishes including olives, cured meats, parfait and desserts.
The interior was designed by Paul Izzard to be elegant without taking itself too seriously. There’s a light, fun vibe to the space, making it inviting to settle in. A huge open kitchen looks out over light brown, stitched leather banquettes and dark timber is accented with deep forest green that turns up on seats, in pops of carpet, on menus, cushions, aprons and outdoor seating. It’s a huge venue, but is cleverly sectioned so it feels cosy rather than cavernous.
The wine list is extensive, with a New Zealand selection as well as northern, central and southern Italian options. There’s a summery spritz section on the cocktail menu, and if you’re wanting to branch out from the classic Aperol there’s a watermelon version – or the Island Time, which is a refreshing mix of rum, lime, sugar, prosecco and cucumber tonic.
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