Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Class all the Way
Last week I took a little trip away to stay at Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria. The restaurant there has received great reviews, won prestigious awards and weekend bookings are filled until next year so I was looking forward to visiting. Travelling from Adelaide, it was a 6 hour drive, which is a jolly long way to go for dinner, but believe me when I say the journey was as good as the destination. With the recent rains, and spring burgeoning, the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Sweeping plains and gum-studded paddocks - it was green and lush, just breathtaking.


The wattles were in full bloom right across the countryside



We dined at the bistro on our first night which was relaxed and casual, but it was on our second night where we dined at the fine dining restaurant, we truly understood what all the fuss was about. We choose a 10 course degustation menu which, despite sounding overwhelming, was just right. The serves were small allowing each one to be savoured. The combination of flavours was inspiring. My favourite course was Spring Vegetables - a delicate salad of shoots, leaves and flowers. No, I lie, my favourite was one (of the 3!) dessert courses - pistachio, hazelnut and honeycomb that actually tasted of honey. The wine list (read BOOK) was enormous with something to satisfy even the most knowledgeable wine buff. It really was a fabulous night.


The view from atop Mount Sturgeon

Although Dunkeld is a very small town, there is plenty to do in the way of nature walks, history walks and general relaxation - we saw lots of kangaroos, kookaburras and other interesting birds not to mention the stunning native flora. Three hours drive from Melbourne it is an idyllic spot to be married, and a perfect way to make a weekend of it for guests who haven't seen the glorious Grampians or Australian countryside.


A beautiful native flower arrangement at the restaurant

The Royal Mail Hotel offers many different accommodation options to suit varying budgets, just be sure to make your plans well in advance for this popular destination. Definitely worth a visit.

Posted by Jane Cameron.