Best New Talent at Anchovy
We’ve already decided we want to dine at Anchovy, the newish restaurant generating lots of good feedback. Luckily we book just before Gourmet Traveller mag announces it’s annual awards, and owner/chef Thi Le is named Best New Talent.
So we arrive at Anchovy with heightened expectations. It’s a small and quite plain room, no fuss, no fancy, which helps focus the attention on to the food. The three of us pick a couple of dishes each to share.
We have instant agreement on the first dish of crispy pigs ears with salt and black vinegar, tasting just like deep fried bacon with salt and vinegar, otherwise known as awesome. Another crowd pleaser is the chicken liver parfait, rice cracker and cumquat. It’s an accurate description but initially looks nothing like expected, but tastes beautiful.
Working our way through the menu
The Vietnamese blood pudding is delicious, on the castelfranco raddichio, sprinkled with ginger and herbs. In contrast, the whiting, with tumeric and coconut vinegar mignonette, is so crunchy on the outside with soft flesh on the inside. The tang of fermented red rice cuts through the richness of duck, wrapped in radicchio with a celeriac cream on the side. One of my favourites of the night is the described “scallops, pipies, clams, orm, smoked rice, lemongrass, dill”, the seafood perfectly poached in a tasty sour broth.
The brusell sprouts are ours to mash into the fried egg, palette and fermented bean curd, a good messy feed.The roasted cauliflower with curry vinaigrette must be the best new beer food in ages, perfect for curling up on the couch. The one thing we pass on is desserts, as we have other plans for that.
So yes, now I know what the buzz is about, and I’d love to sample some more.
Best Bits: the strength of flavours, the originality, the cauli curry, the seafood broth.
Worst Bits: not being able to try the whole menu, I must go back!
Where am I? Anchovy, 338 Richmond Rd, VIC 3121. anchovy.net.au