In the heart of the financial district there is no better place for this concept than within the Rialto Towers forecourt. The buildings name the perfect reference to Venice’s first harbour and the set of Shakespeare’s story by the same name. Merchant is aptly named, occupying the red brick building in Collins Street with its gothic architecture of Venetian origin which was first built as a trading house. Its cobblestone laneway runs around the perimeter of the building allowing for horse and cart to bring produce to its trading floors.
An Osteria is a place for food, wine and the company of others, not a restaurant of rigid style but a relaxed informal environment to drink or eat.
This Osteria will be a place that is exciting and authentic from the minute you walk through its doors. With great emphasis placed on the Venetian tradition, ‘Merchant’ represents a casual space that allows for all types of dining experiences.
Design has been a 2-year pr0ject with Mills and Gorman employing the use of rich materials to provide bold warmth and manifest the vision.
Inspiration was drawn from many seductive eating spaces in the northeast of Italy. 1950s style American cocktail bars in spaces, which are sexy, relaxed and moody. Small bite size snacks ‘cichetti’ being served can be used as antipasto before the meal accompanied at the bar with a traditional Venetian cocktail or be eaten plentifully as a meal itself.
The colors are water, mist, moody, mystical and chic. See them come to life on the west wall mural that lures you into the select few hidden booths.
There is a chair for everyone. Some may be seated in view of white-jacketed barmen topping peach puree with golden flowing Grossi Prosecco to make the anticipated ‘Bellini’ or some may be seated in front of the open kitchen as plates of food are served and taken to tables to be shared.
The wine culture is strong with a list that pays homage to the great wine regions of North Eastern Italy. Merchant has much to offer in its dimly lit chamber. An exciting and energetic place to have a pound of fun.