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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

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.

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