Jeow means relish or sauce in Laotian. And for chef Thi Le, it’s what brings everything together at her restaurant of the same name. It’s the reincarnation of her leading modern-Vietnamese restaurant Anchovy, which closed in 2022.
The space hasn’t changed – only the menu – with Le and partner Jia-Yen Lee ditching the Vietnamese set menu for something more casual and pop-in. And the menu is more home-style, with lots of unstructured shared components that arrive at the same time.
You might start with a spread of spiced peanuts with lime leaf, lemongrass and anchovies; a few oysters with dragon fruit jeow som (Laotian spicy and sour dipping sauce); and a vegan version of sakoo yat sai, or steamed tapioca pearls, filled with Jerusalem artichoke, cashews and salted turnip – they’re coated in garlic-chive oil and to be wrapped in lettuce leaves and herbs.
There’s also nam khao, a crispy rice salad with sour pork and freshly grated coconut, and three larb (also laap or laab – Laotian minced meat and herb salad). The larb diip with raw Warialda eye fillet and slightly cooked tripe is textural and flavour-packed. Ping gai is grilled whole spatchcock that’s butterflied, skewered and served with a funky pineapple salsa.
Partner Jia-Yen Lee is in charge of the drinks list and favours more savoury wines, rather than the typical sweet styles associated with Asian cuisine.
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