The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld is, quite simply, spectacular in every way. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Grampians National Park, the Royal Mail Hotel offers guests the opportunity to indulge in luxurious accommodation and some of the best cuisine Australia has to offer.
An air of tranquillity wafts through the range of accommodation options on offer, including deluxe onsite rooms and apartments, as well as cottage accommodation at the nearby historic Mt Sturgeon Station. Gastrology bloggers were spoilt with a weekend in one of Royal Mail Hotel’s luxurious rooms.
Located within the landscaped gardens of the hotel, with panoramic views of the Southern Grampians, the room was tastefully furnished with a wonderfully comfortable king size bed and plush sofas.
A large modern bathroom with heated floor, rainfall shower and luxury Appelles Apothecary bathroom amenities completed the sense of indulgence.
It was a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
Dinner at Wickens
After taking the short stroll from our room to the newly built restaurant, Wickens, we were ready for the signature eight course Chef’s Tasting menu experience with matched wines. To celebrate Grampians Grape Escape 2018 commencing on the weekend of our visit, the expertly matched wines on this occasion were comprised purely of wines from the region.
Awarded Two Chef Hats by the Age Good Food Guide, the kitchen is overseen by executive Chef Robin Wickens.
On a daily basis, Robin and his team of chefs harvest produce from the extensive organic kitchen garden that inspires that day’s menu. The Hotel’s orchards and olive groves provide further seasonal produce.
The Royal Mail Hotel offers nature-based cuisine focusing on the highest quality, locally sourced produce. All dishes were simply superb - elegant, highly intelligent and faultlessly executed.
A series of canapes entice our appetites just mere moments from being seated. This is even before your order is taken – a nice touch, and certainly sets your mood for a delicious evening to come.
Our first course of confit hens yolk spoke volumes of Wickens’ calibre. A visually stunning, delicate sheet of miso cradled the perfectly confit yolk which was served with charred cabbage and crisp chicken skin - complex flavours interwoven with precise, expertly combined textures.
Our favourite dish of the night, charred flathead, stinging nettle and hearing roe was a lesson in harmonious, elegant cooking. The deliciously savoury flathead and textural of roe with scattered stinging nettle was a masterpiece. Each element was perfectly executed and expertly balanced.
The savoury courses came to a conclusion with dry aged sirloin served with a beautiful backdrop of turnips and potatoes which elevated the richness of the meat to wondrous levels.
A playful pre-dessert of fig chutney and shiraz sorbet light heartedly announced the conclusion of our savoury courses.
A duo of desserts concluded our evening on a sweet high. The sugarbeet and angelica ice cream sandwich was a wonderfully imaginative dish showcasing the immense capability in the kitchen. A novel flavour combination that was thoroughly modern, this dessert excited and delighted. The dessert of apple cake ad earl grey ice cream on the other hand was a classic combination that warmed the soul.
After finishing the last of our courses, it was time to briefly stroll back to the comfort of our room.
12 hours later we stroll down to Parker Street Project, which has taken over the former dining room for breakfast.
Breakfast at the Royal Mail is a decadent affair with stunning a la carte options (breakfast and coffee is included as part of your stay).
We opted for the Royal Breakfast and the Mixed grain porridge - enjoyed while gazing through the large windows surrounding the dining room. The Royal Breakfast comprised of eggs cooked however you like, bacon, sausage, black pudding baked beans and sautéed greens. In all, this dish was a respectable assembly of breakfast essentials. The Mixed grain porridge was similarly delicious and served with poached fruit and honey.
The Royal Mail Hotel delivers an enchanting experience filled with equal parts tranquillity and indulgence. Each element from the absolutely outstanding restaurant to the luxurious accommodation have been carefully thought out and perfectly executed. Without exception, the staff at Royal Mail Hotel were professional, friendly and always worked hard to ensure our stay was as enjoyable as possible. We enjoyed our weekend away immensely and simply cannot wait to return.
Location: 98 Parker Street, Dunkeld
Phone: 03 5577 2241
Cuisine: Modern Australian