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New restaurant, Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel now open

October 28, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email

The team at Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, unveiled its new restaurant Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, this week. The new restaurant has been built in a new location on the Dunkeld property, positioned on the southern tip of Victoria’s Grampians, and features unobstructed views of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt. The new restaurant has been built to create an even stronger connection between the land and the dining table. The menu is illustrative of the seasonal expression of the micro-climate of Dunkeld.

The new restaurant’s namesake, Executive Chef Robin Wickens, has worked closely on the project; involving himself in the design of the kitchen, that Chef says, “will provide greater culinary scope of the five and eight course menus Royal Mail Hotel is celebrated for,” as well as providing direction on the restaurant’s uniforms, glassware, crockery and more.

Dining experiences at Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel

The Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel signature dining experience is an eight course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($185.00) with matched wines ($145.00). A five course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($165.00) with matched wines ($115.00) and vegetarian Chef’s Tasting Menu are also available, as is a Chef’s Table in the kitchen for up to four guests.  The menus, whilst changing frequently subject to the produce that is abundant in the garden, will always include herbs, greens, petals, roots, something from the ocean, poultry, a red meat protein (sheep and cows bred on-site for specific use in the dining room), dairy from local farmers and fruits.

Executive Chef Robin Wickens says diners can expect to see “culinary textures that emulate the garden with mulched greens, soils, foams, purées, petals, micro herbs, dried and crisp leaves, jus, juice and brews, such as vegetable infusions and teas.”

On a daily basis, Robin and his team of chefs harvest produce that inspires that day’s Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel menu from the orchards, olive groves and organic, 1.2 hectare kitchen garden – the largest working restaurant kitchen garden in Australia – which grows more than 400 edible species per year. Dunkeld Pastoral Company rears herds of beef and lamb specifically for Wickens, this allows the kitchen team to manage the entire process from breed selection, grazing, slaughter age and butchery. The meat can be stored in the Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel dry ageing fridge to allow for further flavour and texture development.

The new restaurant’s location at the Royal Mail Hotel has been selected due to its uninterrupted views of the Southern Grampians, which further solidifies the link between food and place Executive Chef Robin Wickens represents across his five and eight course tasting menus.

Wine matches at Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel

Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel provides three wine matches: a five course French Collection ($200.00) wine match, offering a selection of French wines that showcases the breadth and depth of the Royal Mail Hotel wine cellar, which holds the largest privately-owned collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy in the Southern Hemisphere; the Australian wine match ($125.00) and the cellar wine match ($115.00 for five courses and $145.00 for eight courses). Food and Beverage Manager & Sommelier Matthew Lance develops the matches alongside Robin from the extensive on-site collection of over 28,000 bottles, built on for more than 20 years. 

The design of Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel

The new restaurant is designed by Byrne Architects, a Melbourne-based design studio that specialises in developing buildings that are highly responsive to their surroundings.

The floor to ceiling windows and views to Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt have shaped the overall design concept and create a feeling of dining in nature. Nicholas Byrne from Byrne Architects has created a structure that clearly conveys the connection between the restaurant, the natural environment and its local bounty that is featured in Wickens’ dishes.


Key design elements of Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel include: a winding bush trail through the native gardens that connect the hotel and the new restaurant; Australian hardwoods, sheepskin leather and sandstone sourced from Dunkeld’s local quarry to create a raw and pared-back sense of luxury that highlight the Royal Mail Hotel’s agricultural roots; a pre-dinner arrival lounge that is connected to the dining room by a conditioned wine corridor where approximately 700 local and international wines from the hotel’s award-winning cellar rest; a floor to ceiling window connecting the kitchen and the dining room.


Executive Chef Robin Wickens

Executive Chef Robin Wickens joined the Royal Mail Hotel as Executive Chef in August 2013.

The chef works closely with Sommelier Matthew Lance and Kitchen Gardener Michelle Shanahan to develop dishes that are derived entirely from what can be grown in the kitchen garden, with exciting wine matches that accentuate key flavours.

Robin began his career in London working in some of the UK and Europe’s top restaurant before moving to Australia in 2000, opening his own restaurant Interlude in Fitzroy, where he went trailblazing in to the world of molecular gastronomy, pioneering the concept in Melbourne before moving to the coast to open Wickens Delicatessen & Provedore. Now, at the Royal Mail Hotel, Wickens develops menus for new namesake restaurant and casual eatery Parker Street Project.

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