Capping off an extremely busy year for restaurateur Joe Mammone and partners Michael Badr and Marco Tenuta, the trio opens Marameo in the Melbourne CBD space that has been home to Sarti.
Along with opening a cafe (Cantina Carolina) and a bar (Tetto di Carolina) in South Yarra, they decided they needed to retire Sarti, and reintroduce the space as a fresh, more relaxed concept for the next generation of diners.
Casual never looks casual, though, under fastidious designer Chris Connell. The Russell Place premises is now marked with a sleek white arch and blondwood stairs, leading to an opened-up dining room of brushed concrete, tiny white tiles, tables with marble insets and a wraparound sherbert orange banquette.
The gin and vermouth-stacked marble bar has been moved to one side as a casual drop-in zone, and that legendary rooftop terrace is greenery trimmed, ready for summer.
The menu is ringing all the bells, from lunch bait of $15 cacio e pepe spaghetti to fun cheffy flourishes like wagyu-filled cannoli or one-bite carrot crackers with bug tails and glistening roe, but also comforting classics like cavatelli flecked with pork sausage and broccoli, both blitzed at crisped, or a wood-grilled steak.
The wine list remains a jewel for thirsty Italophiles and local loyalists alike. Bring on the next decade.
Open Mon-Fri noon-late, Sat 5.30-11pm.
6 Russell Place, Melbourne, marameo.com.au.