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Anchovy, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Anchovy, Melbourne.

Richmond's culinary reputation as a soggy-focaccia backwater has taken a beating in the last couple of years. The latest blow has been delivered by Anchovy, a savvy modern-Asian restaurant on Bridge Road. Owner-chef Thi Le has worked with Christine Manfield in Sydney and Andrew McConnell in Melbourne, and her menu here is driven by south-east Asian flavours - particularly Vietnamese - and framed by modern-Australian cooking techniques and plating. The short list is long on highlights, including an excellent slightly spicy Vietnamese blood pudding teamed with ginger and eaten in a cosberg leaf, little pork pátê sô (like a brilliant party pie, served with mustard and pickled fennel), raw beef served with rice crackers and big-flavoured nam vang dry egg noodles served with small chunks of chicken heart and liver tossed with a sweet yuzu kosho. There's sweet stuff, too, including some airy beignets served with a tangy passionfruit cream and condensed milk, and a booze list that features decent, decently priced wines and original, thematically correct cocktails, including an after-dinner number that's all Vietnamese coffee, condensed milk and rum. The rise of culinary Richmond continues.

Anchovy, 338 Bridge Rd, Richmond, (03) 9428 3526

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