Anchovy's Lockdown Pop-Up Banh Mi Window Is Getting a Permanent Space
The rotating menu of contemporary banh mi has proved such a hit, it'll be sticking around for good.
When Anchovy co-owners Jia-Yen Lee and Thi Le first started slinging khao jee pâté — the Lao cousin of the Vietnamese banh mi — during last year's lockdown, it was never meant to become a permanent venture. But as lockdowns and restrictions continued, and the duo's street food offering earned itself a loyal following, it became clear the Ca Com pop-up was here to stay. Now, it's set to spawn its own standalone shopfront next door.
Named after the Vietnamese words for 'anchovy', Ca Com first made an appearance at the front window of Anchovy in May 2020. The restaurateurs were keen to keep busy while Anchovy was closed to dine-ins, and a rotating menu of banh mi was exactly the kind of accessible, lockdown-friendly fare the neighbourhood needed.
The pair have been running the pop-up on and off ever since, using a hibachi on the window sill to barbecue proteins and ramping up opening hours whenever Melbourne goes into a snap lockdown. The concise banh mi menu changes regularly depending on the availability of meat cuts and other ingredients, giving the team a chance to flex their creativity and test out new flavour combinations for its dedicated Melbourne fans.
Wood-grilled elements are the stars of this show, with recent creations featuring the likes of barbecued turmeric chicken, Manchurian-spiced roast pumpkin, crumbed garfish stuffed with prawn mousse, and a jungle spice pork sausage.
These days, you'll normally find the Ca Com window in action from 11am Wednesdays through Saturdays, though during lockdown that expands to almost daily — keep an eye on Instagram for the most up-to-date details.
Ca Com's future home will be a standalone shopfront complete with a massive hearth, set to launch in the coming weeks. If all goes to plan, it'll be grilling up a storm six days a week, serving a lunchtime-friendly offering of banh mi, noodle bowls and salads.
For now, find Ca Com at 338 Bridge Road, Richmond. We'll share details about the new store next door at 336 Bridge Road, Richmond, closer to its launch.
Published on August 16, 2021 by Libby Curran