There aren’t many places I’d suggest travelling three and a half hours to for a meal, but the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld is one. I’m still dreaming about the lunch I had there to kick off my Grampians spring break.
Good food is one thing, but what really sets the Royal Mail Hotel apart from other restaurants is its commitment to commitment to being completely organic and as self sufficient as possible. Eighty per cent of the food served on your plate is grown in the kitchen garden, orchard and olive grove. The chefs are in the garden each morning picking the produce for that day, and the menu changes regularly, based on what’s seasonally available.
Everything about the food is exquisite, starting with the vegemite and smoked murray river salt butter that accompanies the house made bread.
I started with an entree of salmon with spinach puree (with almond essence), almond blossom, crispy almond skins, almond tofu and shaved almond – even the almonds were grown in the garden.
I followed with a main of suckling pig with black garlic, celeriac puree, smoked oats, romanesco sauce and rouennaise.
I couldn’t fault a thing. I don’t think I’ve ever ‘oooh’d’ and ‘mmm’d’ so much in one sitting. Both dishes were cooked to perfection, with the most incredible combination of flavours. The pork was so tender and succulent – melt in your mouth delicious.
You can choose from the a la carte menu, or the chef’s tasting menu. If fancy isn’t your thing, you can order from the traditional bar menu in the public bar next door.
Adding to the wow factor of the Royal Mail Hotel is the opportunity to follow your meal with a tour of the garden the food you’ve just devoured was picked from.
I was given a tour by the lovely Michelle – boy does she have her work cut out for her growing all the food. There’s not much this woman doesn’t grow: from hazelnuts, almonds, wasabi, onions, garlic and greens, to nectarines, pomegranates, berries, lemon verbena and artichokes – and that’s just scratching the surface.
Eggs are collected daily from free-range laying hens, and all food waste is recycled and put back into the garden. Anything that isn’t grown in the garden is sourced from local growers and suppliers
And then there’s the setting, with the stunning Mt Sturgeon sitting majestically in the backdrop I can guarantee you won’t want to turn around and drive all the way back to Melbourne. If you want to know where to stay and what to do in the Grampians, check out my escape story here.
I travelled to the Grampians and dined at the Royal Mail Hotel as a guest of Tourism Grampians.
The Royal Mail Hotel is offering one lucky winner of the Oh My Goodness Summer Collective Melbourne Crew a luxury 1 night escape to the Royal Mail Hotel, with overnight accommodation in a deluxe mountain view room, with a la carte breakfast, chef’s tour of the organic kitchen garden, royal mail walking guide and hiker’s hamper take-away lunch for two.
If this sounds like you click here to find out more and join the OMG Summer Collective crew. Our Melbourne program is limited to 50 spots so book now to avoid disappointment.
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld