I’m excited! Modern Vietnamese has hit Bridge Road in Richmond in a big way. The good looking clean lines of the interior translate to the food being dished out.
Anchovy is the new kid on the block and has made an instant impact. Having tried to get a table after 9pm the week prior (and not succeeding), we book a table tonight by email during the day. It is a system that works well on this occasion.
Given the crowds, we are excited about trying several dishes and seeing what Anchovy’s modern take on Vietnamese looks like. For the rice paper rolls, and the spring rolls, it does not look too different. The rice paper roll is expertly wrapped containing a delicious fish that is growing in popularity in Bonito. I love this fish since first trying it at Provenance in Beechworth and the inclusion in the rice paper rolls is intelligent. The spring rolls are delicious; better than most. When wrapped in the mustard leaves with a few select herbs and dipped in the sweet chilli you have a starter hard to not order.
My favourite starter was modern. Great blood pudding, soft consistency, wrapped in a cos lettuce leaf, covered with Vietnamese mint, coriander and pickled ginger. Absolutely delicious for offal fiends like myself. Next we tuck in to several chargrilled prawns. It is not the cheapest dish on the menu but the green prawns are a good size, are beautifully cooked just through, and the sweet tamarind in the juices and Vietnamese mint, add to what is simply great food.
For our larger dish we share the pan-fried flounder. There are four nicely sized fillets. Again, the skill of the chefs is shown in the well cooked fillets which are accompanied by a lot of spring onions, coriander and a burnt butter that adds excellent flavour, but does not in any way detract from the flounder which stars. The quality of the food has been as exciting as its potential offered. We simply must try dessert despite the good portion sizes.
Finishing off with the beignets is a delight. They are light and expertly cooked and prepared. The coffee cream and condensed milk additions could divide diners who are often either for or against coffee in dessert, but it works, and coffee certainly has a role in Vietnamese culture. Something that I really like about this dessert has been a feature of the entire menu. A few excellent components in the dish, combining together to enhance the star, but not going too far.
The whole experience tonight has been fantastic. Sitting on the bar the service has been enthusiastic and skilled. The restaurant is busy creating a good Saturday night buzz, and the refit of the previous tenant has really made its mark. Anchovy is a newcomer that packs a professional punch; I look forward to seeing it move through the ranks.