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  • Richmond
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  1. A white table with three different dishes, one of them presented in a blue dish shaped like a fish, and one in a claypot
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach
  2. The bar seating at Jeow has four black high stools with glasses and alcohol bottles on the back wall lit with lights
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach
  3. A blue fish shaped plate filled with herbs and vegetables sits on a white marble table
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach
  4. A white plate with a cream coloured scroll with white filling sits on a marble table
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach
  5. The dining room in Jeow includes bar seating and tables with banquettes in a golden lit room
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach
  6. A claypot dish filled different vegetables on a table with other dishes in the background
    Photograph: Stephanie Imlach

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Thi Le turns her keen culinary skills to the fresh bright funk of Laos

The bad news is the closing of Anchovy, otherwise known as chef Thi Le’s personal exploration of Vietnamese cuisine. The good news is its replacement by the Laos-leaning Jeow, a switch-out that has happened so fast the sign for Anchovy still hangs from the Bridge Road awning.

Take it as a signal that Jeow is about evolution not revolution – a step to the right to zero in on flavours that have flitted through Le’s menus for the past seven years. So. Blood sausage out; steamed tapioca pearl dumplings in. A controlled exercise in textural shock, the gummy orbs give way to innards of Jerusalem artichoke, cashews and salted turnip, with the outer wrapping of crisp lettuce leaves adding their own crisp oomph.  You’re likely to find some familiarity here. Fish cakes stuffed with lemongrass. Slivers of fried pigs’ ear with a black vinegar and chilli dipping sauce giving off perfect bar snack vibes. A scampi, split and waved somewhere near a grill so the sweet flesh retains its gelatinous gorgeousness, with a zesty green smoosh of chilli, coriander and lime.

You’ll want to get down with the laap, the chilli heat-packing national dish of Laos that Le constructs with the aspirational building blocks of Warialda beef and tripe, or Murray cod and smoked eggplant. Extra points for authenticity if you consume it with a side of the sticky rice (pro tip: do) and eat with your hands. Another palate party comes in the form of the crisp rice salad known as nam khao, with crisp nubbles of fermented pork playing off against shaved coconut and pomelo; it’s the kind of dish where every mouthful offers a different snapshot.

There has been no observable change to the single Bridge Road shopfront, which remains as intimate to the point of squeezy as ever. You don’t come here for the design brilliance, but there’s also no cause for leaving before dessert thanks to the durian Swiss roll. A gateway drug to the charms of the famously funky fruit incorporates it into a white chocolate cream then wraps it in a doona of coconut sponge, with the citrus kick of lemon marmalade acting as a broker between the two. In a word: fabulous.

For those still mourning Anchovy, Le and Lee have promised to resurrect it at some stage, in some form – perhaps at this site, perhaps not. That’s more good news, but for now the arrival of Jeow is reason to be happy indeed. Enjoy it, and hope it lasts.

Written by
Larissa Dubecki


338 Bridge Road
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