What's on in Melbourne during May: Whisky dinners, pinot parties and other food events to book

Wine-tasting event Pinot Palooza returns in May for the first time since 2019.
Wine-tasting event Pinot Palooza returns in May for the first time since 2019. Photo: Supplied

Chefs and winemakers are celebrating the change of season, a week-long festival of ideas is happening and childhood mates pair up for an Italian pork feast. Here are some of the best things for food-lovers to do in Melbourne this month.

Jayden Ong's end of vintage party, April 29-May 1

Celebrate another vintage done-and-dusted with food from the grill, punch and wine at Jayden Ong's Yarra Valley cellar door.
Celebrate another vintage done-and-dusted with food from the grill, punch and wine at Jayden Ong's Yarra Valley cellar door. Photo: Supplied

Yarra Valley winemaker Jayden Ong is celebrating the end of vintage with a three-day shindig encompassing local DJs, rotisserie meat, and cups of the Ong family punch. Additions like grilled Southern Rock lobster join a menu that includes flatbread with mortadella and tapenade, charred broccolini, and chocolate tart. Jayden Ong wines and R.H. Coutier champagne will be poured.

$80 for set menu; 8 Hunter Road, Healesville, jaydenong.com

Nose-to-tail lunch, May 1

Italian or not, all are welcome at a special Iunch hosted by Hardware Club and Tipico on Italian Labour Day. Honouring their hometown traditions, Verona exports Nicola Dusi (Hardware Club) and Andrea Da Como (Tipico) are showcasing different cuts of pork over four courses. The chefs, who are childhood friends, will serve two dishes each from a beast supplied by Gary's Quality Meats.

$85 for food and a digestif; Tipico, 242-246 High Street, Windsor, tipico.melbourne

Mother's Day Market by Welcome Merchant, May 1

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Shop for a gift that also supports refugee and migrant-led businesses at this market featuring beautiful skincare, craft, jewellery and more. Other stalls include Rosetta coffee, Beit e'Shai tea and Sri Lankan food by Tuka Tuka Kothuroti Man. Entry fees are being donated to Food Bank for flood victims in northern NSW and Queensland. Whatever you buy, it's bound to bring smiles on both sides of the equation.

$5 entry fee, pre-payment available. Bridge Darebin Arts Hub, 99 Leinster Grove, Thornbury. Pre-pay via tickettailor.com

Pinot Palooza, May 6-7

Celebrating 10 years of wine-soaked fun, this more-than-just-pinot party is back for the first time since 2019. Montalto, Quealy and Dirty Three are among the 70-plus pinot producers appearing, plus there's an all-Tasmanian quarter featuring spirits, cider, cheese, beer and, of course, pinot noir from Australia's coolest wine-growing region. Timed four-hour sessions mean less jostling for face-time with the people behind the wine. Burn City Smokers, Taco Truck and Nama are among the food options.

$65, includes all tastings; The Timber Yard, 351 Plummer Street, Port Melbourne, pinotpalooza.com.au

Bottomless nasi goreng at Kata Kita, May 7-29

Kata Kita is all about the Indonesian tradition of big family feasts. And in May they're giving you a headstart, with a weekend lunch special of bottomless nasi goreng and drinks. Choose from Bintang or Asahi, or go big with cocktails like a pandan slushie or the Aperol Jungle featuring apple syrup and orange juice. 

Available on Saturdays and Sundays, 11.30am-1.30pm; $60 per head; 266 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, eventbrite.com

Melbourne Knowledge Week, May 9-15

Food is a focal point of this year's Melbourne Knowledge Week. Food waste and ways to reduce yours are on the agenda at Cumulus Inc, along with a three-course dinner (May 12, $100) while four events at Queen Victoria Market explore food's importance to cultures of the Levant. An interactive exhibition shows the potential of insects to transform organic waste into something valuable.

Full program and tickets at mkw.melbourne.vic.gov.au

Kisume's chefs will be serving fine Japanese fare to accompany the special bottles being poured by Suntory whisy.

Kisume's chefs will be serving fine Japanese fare to accompany the special bottles being poured by Suntory. Photo: Supplied

Suntory whisky dinner at Kisume, May 12

Japanophiles will be excited to hear that Kisume's private dining room will be hosting a night celebrating Japanese craftsmanship and attention to detail. Suntory is opening rarities such as Yamazaki 18 and the award-winning Hibiki 21 (which fetches up to $2000 a bottle). A five-course menu will accompany the top-shelf drams and whisky cocktails, featuring the likes of cuttlefish sashimi, toothfish and more.

$345 including food and drinks; 175 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, sevenrooms.com

Comma Food and Wine's beef and oysters dinner, postponed to June 3

Chef Matt Woodhouse has invited his pal Telina Menzies, executive chef across Australian Venue Co, to come and cook in his Moorabbin wine bar for one night (originally May 28). The theme? Beef and oysters (mainly angasi and akoya) with a smattering of caviar. See it play out across snacks such as oysters with bone marrow vinaigrette, a main course of O'Connor beef, and dessert, perhaps featuring a beef fat caramel that Woodhouse is working on. Watch this space.

$89 for food, drinks additional; 2 Station Street, Moorabbin, wearecomma.com.au