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FOOD & DRINK

Wickens at The Royal Mail Hotel

Dunkeld's fine diner where you can indulge in degustations and a 28,000-bottle wine cellar surrounded by bush.
By Libby Curran
February 26, 2018
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By Libby Curran
February 26, 2018
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It's time to put Dunkeld's Royal Mail Hotel back on your weekend getaway radar, as it has a new fine dining offering: Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel. Taking over a standalone space on the property, the remote restaurant is accessible by a bush trail the winds down from the hotel. It's been designed by Melbourne-based Byrne Architects to highlight its connection to its natural surroundings, with floor-to-ceiling windows capturing striking views of Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt. Inside it's a luxe fusion of sheepskin leather, sandstone and Australian hardwood.

This respect for the land is mirrored in Executive Chef Robin Wickens' hyper-local menu, which'll change up regularly, dictated by the daily haul from the on-site olive groves, orchard and 1.2-hectare organic kitchen garden.

The garden-fresh goodies inspire textural plate additions like soils, foams, purées and vegetable infusions. Diners can enjoy the spoils via an ever-changing chef's tasting menu ($220), with a special chef's table in the kitchen available to groups of up to four.

Unsurprising, given the Royal Mail's award-winning 25,000-bottle cellar, the booze side of things sure isn't lacking, with three expertly curated wine matches on offer as well. Get a taste of the largest privately-owned collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy in the southern hemisphere with the French match ($200), celebrate locality with the all-Australian wine match, or mix things up with the cellar wine match ($130).

The restaurant is a replacement of sorts for the two-hatted Royal Mail Hotel dining room, which closed in early 2017. The hotel's casual diner Parker Street Project — which is a good spot for lunch if you're staying the night — has now taken over the space, which is connected to the hotel.

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