WICKENS AT ROYAL
MAIL HOTEL 98 PARKER ST, DUNKELD 5577 2241 ROYALMAIL.COM.AU With sheep and beef reared to spec on its farm and the nation’s largest restaurant garden to inform the daily menu, Dunkeld’s Royal Mail Hotel has long offered a sense of its surrounds on the plate. But now, with a dedicated standalone space that offers sweeping views, the new restaurant is a celebration of Australia and a world-class destination.
Adding his name to the door, chef Robin Wickens is serving up a five- or eightcourse menu, starting with a selection of elegant canapes, such as aged kangaroo tartare on pickled onion cracker, and a single radish in sorrel jelly.
Dishes such as dry-aged Great Ocean duck served with sharp rhubarb stalks, or a piece of blue-eye dressed in kohlrabi juice, show restraint and confidence in letting produce do the talking.
A new love of Australian wines is more in keeping with the kitchen’s ethos, though the four-figured Burgundies are still there, while switched-on service keeps that wine flowing.
The five-hour meal makes for a somewhat laboured undertaking, but when there’s blackberry leaf ice cream with fennel and lemon balm to end, who’s looking at the clock? ■ Must-eat dish Sweetbreads on sweet bread ■ Cuisine Contemporary ■ Chef Robin Wickens ■ Price $$$$ ■ Bookings Yes ■ Open Lunch Sat-sun; dinner Wed-sun ■ Instagram @royalmailhotel