WICKENS AT ROYAL

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Delicious 100 -

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

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