Melbourne’s restaurants and bars are keeping things fresh this winter with a host of special events to coax foodies and libation lovers out of their comfort zones.
City Cellar Door at Cumulus Up
Over winter Cumulus Up wine bar will be hosting City Cellar Door, a monthly afternoon of wine tasting showcasing producers from Victoria and Tasmania. Showcasing a different region each event, it provides a full cellar door experience – including the chance to meet the winemakers – without leaving the city. Entry is by gold coin donation, which includes the wine tasting. A seasonal snack menu will be available to complement the varied wine styles.
For the first time in 20 years, Melbourne institution Gin Palace will serve lunch, with a twist. Seven Australian distillers are set to curate a three course lunch inspired by the theme Scents of Place. Each lunch will be followed by an interactive cocktail-making class, in harmony with the distiller’s chosen menu. One for the diary – every second Saturday from 2 June until 25 August.
Rye July – an ode to whisky at Supernormal
Supernormal presents a range of events in a unique ode to whisky with Rye July, inspired by the cult film Lost In Translation. A month-long whisky-themed homage, featuring whiskies from all around the world including Scotland, Ireland, USA, Japan and Australia includes cocktails and drinks specials, masterclasses and tastings. Sunday 1 to Tuesday 31 July.
Gin celebration at Plus 5
At Plus 5 this June, it’s all about the juniper with a month-long celebration of gin. Commemorate the week of the Queen’s Birthday with British gins on special, then the week after, Australian and New Zealand brands get their day in the sun with gin tasting boards served with specialty tonics. End the month with a week of classic G&Ts on special.
This welcoming bar delivers some of the city’s most Instagrammable cocktails within an elevated and cosy perch above the Yarra. With magnificent views over the water across their generous heated balcony, there’s no excuse to miss Waterslide Bar’s evening dedicated to the dark mysteries of rum. The good times flow from 4pm Thursday 14 June, with the option of grazing plates of charcuterie and cheeses.
Meet the makers
Talk and Taste at Pilgrim Bar
Meet your local producers and learn more about their artisan craft at Pilgrim Bar’s Talk and Taste series. These intimate sessions will highlight some of Melbourne’s finest producers and their insider recipes in a series specially created for gourmands. Thursdays 28 June to 30 August.
Midtown foodie tours
Rediscover the laneways off Little Bourke Street as the team at Palermo take you on a culinary tour of the city, their way. Midtown Foodie Tours take in the gourmet destinations and flourishing boutiques of midtown, visiting the bespoke artisans behind the coffee stops, top restaurants, wine bars and even a hidden cocktail piano bar. Saturdays until 7 July.
Henry and the Fox
Head to this European-inspired eatery for Henry and the Fox’s special cheesemaking masterclass. Enjoy a glass of wine on arrival, then be guided through the process of creating your own delicious fromage by expert cooks. Of course, you’ll leave with your very own contribution to your next cheese platter. Saturdays 16 June, 7 July and 28 July.
South Wharf Progressiver Dinners
No need to choose just one of South Wharf’s exceptional restaurants, when you can go to five in one night. At South Wharf Progressive Dinners you’ll be welcomed with a glass of champagne on arrival, before embarking on an adventure filled with seasonal fare and plentiful vegetarian options, taking in riverside views of the Melbourne skyline. Wednesdays 25 July to 22 August.
At San Telmo, the traditional Sunday roast has a different flavour. ‘Al Horno’ is Spanish for ‘oven roasted’, and San Telmo’s Al Horno Sunday roasts are on track to become a welcome weekly ritual this winter. Gather your crew for an Argentinean feast and Sunday session like no other, with a Malbec as your red wine of choice. Sundays 3 June to 26 August.
Midwinter Feast at Platform 270
The Hilton’s Platform 270 welcomes you with their striking open grill, delivering expertly seared flame-grilled meats, and chargrilled vegetables with a twist. To celebrate the winter solstice, the team will host a special Midwinter Feast, bring together a local farmer, chef, winemaker and craft brewer to explore the tradition of ‘festival’. Treat your family and welcome the season with open arms. Thursday 21 June.
Drumplings eating competition
Drumpling is a unique and modern dumpling-focused diner that offers a global twist on the traditional dumpling – and this winter, they’re seeking serious dumpling lovers for a Drumpling Eating Competition. Eat as many dumplings as possible in just two minutes, and you could be crowned the ultimate Drumpling champion! Thursday 16 August – registrations essential.
Rokewood Suckling Pig Roast at the Left Bank
For one day only, Left Bank is serving up their Rokewood Suckling Pig Roast, a six-hour smoked, pecan and apple Western Plains suckling pig, matched with a Victorian chardonnay and pinot noir. Sides include roasted hazelnut dukkah-dusted baby carrots, flamed burnt apple jus, nasturtium leaf smashed peas. If this has you drooling, book ahead for Sunday 8 July.
South American feast at Cinema Nova Bar and Kitchen.
Catch an early session at Carlton’s arthouse cinema, then prepare for a hearty South American feast. For one night only, Wednesday 25 July, chef Matt Waldron of Lulo in Hawthorn, takes over the Cinema Nova Bar & Kitchen. Expect fresh and piquant ceviches, house-made chorizo, and classics including bacalao and empanadas. Go for a matched wine menu, or select from Nova’s considered selection of curated wines.
This year’s Firelight Festival presents a month of gourmet activities to warm up your winter nights.
Inspired by long-table dining experiences around the world, the Firelight Festival Long Dinners at Chiara on 3 July and 31 July, will serve up rich flavours of Italy of three indulgent courses while guests are entertained by special fire performances.
There’s more foodie fun to be had at the Dining and Docklands program starting with a European-inspired progressive dinner through Bar Nacional, 90 Secondiand The Hof Downtown on 12 July. Then on 18 July, City River Cruises will take guests on an evening harbour cruise with drinks and tasty canapes from Cargo Restaurant. There’s also a cheese-smoking workshop presented by Saluministi and That’s Amore Cheese while the Speakeasy Series serves up tapas, cocktails and performances from local musicians, at Hightail Bar, Oscars Table, Tap831 and Watermark Docklands.