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L'avis de Gault&Millau
Known for his Italian cuisine, restaurateur/Chef Guy Grossi owns several restaurants, including Merchant, where Chef Daniel Airo-Farulla leads the kitchen team.
Situated in Rialto, the space is warm and inviting, with impressive oval lights that capture your attention on arrival. Choose from dark leather private booths, classic wooden tables spread across the polished slate floor or take a seat up at the bar.
Merchant attracts a regular procession of customers who return for the Italian dishes that go beyond just pasta. Start with a selection of chicchetti – delicious Italian morsels of flavour – ranging from beef cheek croquettes served with a tangy horseradish to salumi and San Daniele prosciutto. For a more substantial share dish, try the crunchy fried cuttlefish served with a lightly dressed radicchio salad. From the fish section, the hapuka fillet is a popular choice. Pair it with a fragrant farro salad complemented with cauliflower and pine nuts. From the pasta options, try the minced veal ragu and enjoy the rich, complex, tomato-based sauce served with silky, al dente house-made fettuccine.
PSST! Check out the grappa and acquavite options on the drinks menu.
Reviewed for the 2019 Guide