Melbourne’s favourite gastronomic festival, The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, is back for it’s 24th year from March 31 to April 9. With over 280 events it’s the perfect excuse to stuff yourself silly and explore what the world’s most livable city has to offer from upmarket restaurants, hidden laneways and incredible rooftops. But we know how hard it is to choose, so here’s a list of our top picks!
THE FESTIVAL HUB
House of Food and Wine
Hidden in a laneway just off Lt. Lonsdale St, you could be forgiven for mistaking this year’s food and wine hub for your own home. There’s a dining room (event space), a lounge room (house bar), a garden (laneway) and even a gallery. Welcome home!
For the entirety of the festival, the aptly named ‘House of Food and Wine’ will provide unique culinary collaborations and curated dining experiences with some of Melbourne’s most loved chefs and bartenders.
Morgan McGlone (Belle’s Hot Chicken) is creating a bar menu inspired by the rich history of the festival, while Mark Protheroe (Grossi Florentino) curates the perfect wine list to match. There will also be two natural wines on tap (yep, ON TAP!) crafted especially for the festival by Patrick Sullivan. If you’re more of a cocktail lover, you can’t leave without trying Fred Siggins’ signature MFWF cocktail.
There are 13 one-off events happening ‘in-house’ and these are our Top 2.
The Breakfast Club
There are only a couple of things more sacred to Melburnians than brunch: coffee and booze – which makes The Breakfast Club sound a lot like heaven. MoVida, Magic Mountain Saloon, Tokyo Tina, Marios Café, Top Paddock, Higher Ground, Longhorn Saloon and Om Nom are teaming up to create the breakfast of your Instagram dreams. Plus, MoVida will have all your wine and sherry needs covered, while award-winning Romeo Lane will be offering specially crafted breakfast martinis and Bloody Marys. After this brunch, we promise you’ll be pumping your first in the air a la John Bender.
Burger Block Party
Australia’s most-loved burger joints are serving up all your favourites as we bid farewell to this year’s MFWF. Melbourne’s very own Raph Rashid (Beatbox Kitchen) and Casey Wall (Rockwell & Sons) will be firing up the grill alongside Sydneysiders, Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (Mary’s Burgers), Hobartians, Christian Ryan and Sam Chang (The Standard) and Perthie, Simon Kony (Short Order Burger Co.).
OTHER TOP PICKS
When you’re ready to leave ‘home’ there are a multitude of Melbourne venues playing host to other MFWF events. Here are our Top 5 of the whole festival.
High Society Supper Club
Belleville and The Broken Bones Crew are teaming up to create a late-night five-course gastronomical feast for Melbourne’s most adventurous eaters at the intimate Red Door cocktail bar. Think suckling pig s’mores, wagyu cheeseburgers macaroons, smoked bacon popcorn ice cream and more! – all served alongside a matching cocktail.
A Savoury Sweet, Sweet Savoury Champagne Party!
Om Nom’s executive pastry chef, Jo Ward and head savoury chef, Darren Jones are partnering up to create moorish dishes with sweet twists and desserts injected with savoury flavours. Think Golden Gaytimes made with salmon and passionfruit Hollandaise, squid bubble tea and Balsamic Fairy Floss (planted in chocolate soil!). Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without some bubbly, so everyone gets a glass of champagne with each course. Cheers!
Orange is the New Blanc
On for one-night only, Tyler Preston and Adam Trengrove are heating up the woks and pouring matched natural wines for a four-course ethical Asian-inspired bbq in Abbotsford’s greenest beer garden. So head over to Dr. Morse to raise a glass for all things biodynamic, oxidative and artisan.
Bodega Lourinhã featuring Monster y Romeo Lane
Culinary brothers Sean (Monster Kitchen and Bar, ACT) and Matt McConell (Bar Lourinhã) are collaborating on an eight-course degustation paired with classic gin and sherry cocktails with a modern twist by award-winning cocktail genius, Joe Jones (Romeo Lane). Although the dinner at Bar Lourinhã wraps up at 11pm, late-night revellers can continue the fiesta into the early hours of the morning at Romeo Lane.
The Salt Kitchen Soiree
Collin’s Quarter’s Head Chef, Michael Nunn, and ex-Head Chef, Samuel Wilson (Salt Kitchen), are partnering up to create local culinary bites using the finest produce from regional Victoria. It’s a courtyard soiree and afternoon fiesta rolled into one, with charcuterie boards piled with Salt Kitchen meats, terrine and pâtés, bite-sized canapés and even a whole suckling pig spit roast. Best paired with a glass of wine, it’s a good thing there’s flowing wine and sparkling.
Nadine is a freelance writer and PR girl. In her spare time, you’ll typically catch her reading a good book, hitting up Melbourne’s coolest restaurants and bars, or finding her next adrenaline rush. She also can’t say no to a good scoop of gelato or pizza slice. See what else she gets up to on her Instagram.