Your experience at Mezzanino, the new restaurant above the Produce Merchants, might look a bit like this: you sit at a long, russet-coloured wooden table. Ahead of you there’s a wall of windows, and a marble cart rolls up beside you. On it there’s eggplant caponata, puffy-edged slices of pizza, sauce-drenched meatballs and fresh oysters. You take what you like and continue your lunch.
But don’t call it “Italian yum cha”. Here the pace is slower, the fit-out more spacious and everything is generally more relaxed.
For those who want a more traditional Italian meal, there are homemade pastas and two meat-based mains, but otherwise piattini (literally “small Italian dishes”) are the way to go. The options mentioned earlier make consistent appearances; they’re joined regularly by pâté and crostini; anchovies on toast; house-cured salmon carpaccio; and caprese salads. On any given day there could be a whole range of other options depending on what the chef has seen at the market.
The chef is Riccardo Interdonato, ex-Grossi Florentino (a longstanding, family-owned Melbourne institution). The brief he’s working with is to use everything that’s downstairs at the grocer and turn it into modern Italian food.
The beautiful restaurant space is flooded with sunlight and filled with restored furniture and windows from the original owner’s Indonesian factory.