THE gondola by the doorway, in the Rialto forecourt, is something of a giveaway. Guy Grossi’s latest project is Merchant — and make that ‘‘of Venice’’. His new enoteca in Collins Street, Melbourne, is buzzy and cheery, with Italian welcomes — Buongiorno! Buonasera! — from the staff and an open-armed sense of hospitality. The menu is long but uncomplicated, with dishes made to share and super-value sides, such as braised peas and enormous dishes of the creamiest mash imaginable. Passing from the open kitchen like relay runners, waiters weave with plates of carpaccio and polenta (toppings include duck ragu), salt-cured cod and braised cuttlefish, chunky risotto and chargrilled lamb cutlets. Just when it couldn’t get any better, I spy a dessert of Campari semifreddo with orange jelly. I am transported to Piazza San Marco in springtime. Bellissimo. More: merchantov.com.