Richmond’s latest Asian Fusion invention, Anchovy, pays homage to Head Chef Thi Le’s Vietnamese roots, with sophisticated Asian flavours and a clever western twist for good measure. Le, who flew the coup from the likes of Cumulus Inc., Supernormal and Luxembourg, has taken a bold step forward with co-owner Jia-Yen Lee to develop the classy Bridge Road eatery, and from what we’ve seen, it’s likely to be a huge success.
If you’re looking for trendy pulled pork, bao, ramen burgers or any other kinda fad Asian-fusion blend, you’re not going to find it here. Anchovy is all about inventive dishes, powerful flavours and sophisticated plating. Fine dining? Not exactly, you can leave your Sunday best at home, but expect a refined dining experience rather than the usual street food fusion this city has in bounds.
Anchovy is minimalist in design, with a sleek fit-out, boasting two large communal tables and ample bar seating. While there aren’t many nooks and crannies for romantic canoodling, it’s definitely a good option for group dining in Richmond—you can even make a reservation!
Anchovy’s menu is short and snappy. There aren’t a whole stack of dishes to choose from but they’re all really good. Kick things off with the yummy spring rolls served with mustard leaves and herbs. Wrap these little guys in the leaves and dip them in zesty sweet chilli sauce for a huge flavour hit! Equally delicious are the rice paper rolls, filled with prawn, coconut and pomelo. After all you can never have too many of either, right?
The entire Anchovy menu is designed for sharing, so be sure to order a few dishes to really grasp the unique Asian flavours. We went for the rice cakes topped with fried egg, green papaya and chilli soy, and were blown away by the mix of flavours. Not only are the rice cakes super tasty, but the green papaya and chilli soy combination is a match made in heaven! Another standout dish is the pork and galangal sausage with celeriac—and wait for it—green chilli lime dressing. The melt-in-your-mouth sausage works perfectly with the sweetness of the dressing, making this dish one of our absolute faves.
If you consider yourself at one with the curry, you need to give the yellow duck at Anchovy a go. Served with root vegetables and mixed with Thai basil, this hearty dish features tender meat and just the right amount of chilli to definitely be classified as the perfect winter warmer. Speaking of winter warmers, don’t think you can visit a restaurant of this caliber and leave without having dessert! How does the coffee cream and condensed milk beignets sound? Or the poached quince with lemon mousse and white chocolate? You really can’t go wrong.
The Richmond restaurant also offers diners a few other special little touches, like a sophisticated wine list, yummy peppermint tea when you arrive, as well as a soda stream for making their very own soft drinks. Pretty neat huh?
Image credit: Rebecca Newman for The Urban List