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 Deluxe Mountain View 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.
After taking the short stroll from our room to the restaurant, we were ready for Royal Mail’s signature eight course Chef’s Tasting menu experience with matched wines.
Awarded Two Chef Hats by the Age Good Food Guide 2015, the kitchen is overseen by executive Chef Robin Wickens.
From left: Royal Mail’s “Scotch Eggs” (Smoked eel with herring roe crumbed and served on rendered pork fat); Pumpkin crisps; Beetroot confit with crème fraiche served in Apple gel; Linseed cracker with rosehip cream and edible flowers.
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.
Cottage cheese ball with black Apple gel, celery, Granny Smith Apple, celery and poppy seed crisp
Smoked chicken mousse on pumpkin sheet with chicory and egg yolk emulsion, sherry gel
The dish of smoked chicken mousse on pumpkin sheet spoke volumes of Wickens’ calibre. The visually stunning, delicate sheet of pumpkin cradled the delicate and smokey chicken mousse - complex flavours interwoven with precise, expertly combined textures.
Marinated scallops, cape gooseberry, eucalyptus
Broccoli, lemon, sheeps milk espuma, granola
Our favourite dish of the night, this dish was a lesson in harmonious, elegant cooking. The deliciously savoury sheeps milk and various textures of broccoli with scattered crunchy granola was a masterpiece. Each element was perfectly executed and expertly balanced.
John Dory, brown rice, mead, curry
The John Dory was served in a beautiful sea of brown rice and celery. The flesh was extremely delicate and communicated the natural flavour of the gloriously fresh John Dory with notes of curry adding interest. It was a beautiful dish.
Hay baked pheasant, scampi, shallot puree
The pheasant had been skilfully marinated and baked with results that spoke for themselves. Exceedingly silky, it was perfectly seasoned with the natural gaminess of the pheasant showcased along with the delicate scampi and luxurious shallot puree.
Sher wagyu F1 8+ sirloin, broccoli and blue cheese
The Wagyu was cooked to a wonderful perfection with the creamy broccoli and blue cheese puree elevating the rich, buttery meat to wondrous levels. Our favourite wine match of the evening, the 2005 Restif cabernet sauvignon was a perfect match with its black fruits, aromatic complexity and vibrant acids.
‘Grampians pure’ sheeps milk, lemon myrtle, hay
A playful pre-dessert light heartedly announced the conclusion of our savoury courses.
Rhubarb, yoghurt, rosemary
Poached meringue, walnut broth, mushroom, treacle
A wonderfully imaginative dish showcasing the immense capability in the kitchen and one of the greatest desserts we have ever eaten. A truly novel and unlikely flavour combination of meringue, walnut and mushroom that succeeded in balancing the earthiness of the mushrooms, the luscious texture of the poached meringues, crispy and sweet candied walnuts and gooey treacle. Thoroughly modern, this dessert excited and delighted.
After finishing the last of our courses, it was time to briefly stroll back to the comfort of our room.
12 hours later we returned to the dining room, this time for breakfast.
Organic mixed muesli served with whisky poached pears from the breakfast buffet
Breakfast at the Royal Mail is a decadent affair with both a continental buffet...
...and delicious cook-to-order items cooked by the chefs in the open kitchen (all included as part of your stay).
French toast, caramelised orange, maple and bacon espuma
Gruyere, ham, tomato and Dijon sourdough toastie
We opted for a wonderful spread of a sourdough toastie and French toast as well as muesli, coffees, juices and yoghurt – all enjoyed while gazing through the large windows surrounding the dining room.
Kitchen Garden Tours
The Royal Mail Hotel’s garden provides the kitchen with produce such as organic heirloom vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, fruit and nuts all year round.
All overnight guests are offered a complimentary Kitchen Garden Tour and these tours demonstrate to guests the organic practices employed by the Hotel and how the daily harvest influences the menu.
It was fascinating to immerse ourselves in the garden with one of the Royal Mail Hotel’s chefs and learn about the origin of the stunning produce enjoyed the evening before.
The Royal Mail Hotel also boasts a cellar containing one of the most comprehensive, varied and expensive wine collections in Australia and includes one of the country’s leading collections of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Boasting a selection of 2300 local and imported wines and with a total wine inventory of 26,000 bottles (many of which are rare and eye wateringly valuable), the Royal Mail Hotel’s wine list is sizeable.
Until next time...
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 Australia