• Stracciatella-stuffed oxheart tomatoes, crisp chicken-wing parmigiana and Campari-glazed roasted duck await at La Madonna. It’s a vast, golden-lit restaurant and bar in the new Next Hotel.

• Bloody great news: Four Pillars’ limited-edition Bloody Shiraz Gin is back (with a very good-looking new bottle).

• Starting next week, four of Australia’s top innovators in Middle Eastern cuisine are doing one-night stints at Shane Delia’s Maha Bar. Here’s the rundown.

• Adam D’Sylva’s roving gelateria has found a permanent, pistachio-coloured home. Expect rotating specials such as Basque burnt cheesecake, flavours inspired by his Italian-Indian heritage and a few welcome curveballs.

• Rustica is hosting a decadent, five-course dinner with paired wines (and perhaps even a creamy, lemony crème-brûlée tart). All the details here.

• After a brief closure, Elwood institution Jerry’s Milk Bar reopens with a shiny new look – but some of its former glory restored. Go for the meatball sub.

• Coming soon: with a new Melbourne scheme, get up to $100 back on your bill at city restaurants and cafes. Massive.

• Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s new progressive-dining series lets you soak up the best of 80 Collins’ food and booze in one fell swoop.

• Shannon Martinez, David Moyle, Victor Liong and 10 other star chefs have been added to Rising’s stacked food program, which now includes a luminous 130-seater restaurant called The Lighthouse.

Caffeinate for free at this Coburg North roastery for two weeks.

• In a bustling space, Lulu’s Char Koay Teow serves the smoky Malaysian noodle dish seven ways (plus ultra-flaky curry puffs).

• Feeling fancy? Get three caviar-centric canapes (along with three drinks) at this new South Yarra restaurant channelling the islands of the Mediterranean.

Recipe: tahdig, or crisp Persian saffron rice, is a celebration dish all about brining joy. “The yellow rice combined with the red barberries is like a smile for my mind,” the owner affectionately tells us.

• World Whisky Day is coming up. And chef Shannon Bennett has carefully curated three bite-sized dishes to go with Nikka Whisky’s Miyagikyo single malt at Vue de Monde’s Lui Bar.

• Want a shortcut to flavour town? (Yes.) Try award-winning cookbook author Alice Zaslavsky’s new two-ingredient spread.

• For proponents of the polarising fruit, there’s a durian festival happening in Melbourne this weekend.

• Sad news: Melbourne-born chocolate maker Hey Tiger is closing for good. But it’s running a 40%-off-everything sale.

• An Aussie company is delivering mini, fancy goon sacks of indie drops. Get five for $45.