Melbourne, meet midnight spaghetti. The kinda puttanesca (minus anchovies) is all bright acid, garlic, capers and extra al dente spaghetti and it's king of snacks at the Grossi family's new late night bar.
It's been a time since a fresh 3am license was granted in the central business district, and it feels right that it's gone to the Grossis. They're putting it to great use at Arlechin, going toe-to-toe with the likes of Siglo with a cocktail and wine bar in Mornane Place (the alley behind their Bourke Street restaurants) that has bottles of nebbiolo, cocktails designed by Romeo Lane's Joe Jones and bar manager Adam Roderick and a whole parade of things you want to eat until 3am.
As with Romeo Lane, it's an expertly shook cocktail list of bright and bitter refreshment featuring a lot of Italian bitters and liqueurs, over cubes of Navy Strength Ice.
On the wine front, Melbourne's most baby-faced sommelier George McCullogh has collaborated with Grossi's group sommelier Michael Smith.
The menu is a carb-heavy list built for one-handed eating. A sloppy joe is filled with Italy's brandade, salt cod cooked with milk and potatoes, blitzed with olive oil.
See also a bolognese jaffle and maybe grilled cos hearts crowned with a quail egg in crumbs.
The compact space has been carefully remodelled to pack in the most action. A marble bar runs along one wall, bracketed in by the impressive Grossi Florentino cellar.
The low ceiling has been hollowed out into a curved arc and lined with cork so it's like drinking in an elegant hobbit burrow.
The potential for good times are written all over the wall.
Open daily 5pm-3am.
Mornane Place, Melbourne, 03 9662 2413, arlechin.com.au