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“The good, and the bad.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Royal Mail Restaurant

The Royal Mail Restaurant
Parker St, Dunkeld, Victoria 3294, Australia
(03) 5577 2241
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Ranked #3 of 5 Restaurants in Dunkeld
Price range: $49 - $49
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Doing business
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: The Royal Mail Hotel is a unique rural destination set among native gardens and fruit orchards with stunning views of the Southern Grampians Ranges. Accommodation, an award winning restaurant and wine cellar, bistro, public bar, meeting and conference facilities and the historic Mt Sturgeon Estate and homestead are all available for guests to explore and enjoy.
Darwin, Australia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The good, and the bad.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

The good, and the bad.

My partner and I had been looking forward to a trip to Dunkeld for quite a while, and finally decided to visit on a spur of the moment trip, only organising it the day before we left! I was relieved to get accommodation and a seat in the restaurant at such late notice, although, it was mid-week. We both had high expectations of the Royal Mail Hotel and I am unhappy to say that it did not completely live up to expectations.

The good points, and there were a few! I stayed in the cheapest accommodation, the Garden View Rooms and was very happy with it. There was a lot of space, comfy bed, big TV, big bathroom, endless hot water and reverse cycle air-conditioner. Although, not a wine glass in sight?!! The public bar has a beautiful open fireplace and a pool table. It is a nice space, however, it bring downs the ‘fine dinning’ feel of the place. There are beautiful native gardens around the whole property and the wattle has just come into bloom. The backdrop of the Grampians National Park is spectacular and the surrounding walks and trails are a good escape. Dunkeld is a sleepy little town, with a population of about 400, a nice change for those who have travelled from the big city.

I dined in the restaurant; both my partner and I had the eight-course degustation with matching wines. The stand out dishes were the egg yolk, pigeon and quince with coffee, stand out wines were local Walwhinnie Chardonnay and Grossett ‘Polish Hill’ Riesling. Our wait staff were exceptional, the Sommelier, Simon, fantastic! The wine list was phenomenal; I could have read it all night. In fact the whole place is about the wines they have, and it is worth a visit just to enjoy their selection.

There were a few things that really brought down the whole night. The chairs are uncomfortable, office chairs that give the impression they might break if you lean back on them. The tables were set up in two rows, away from the fireplace. Therefore, instead of the fire being made the feature we were looking at the waiter’s station (something I think should be tucked away in the corner, for the staff as much as the dinners). The station divided the room, making us feel uneasy, especially with the row behind us breathing down our backs. When they bring the food to you, an entourage of floor staff, all carrying one plate, approaches the table! This is intimidating and un-necessary. Throughout the evening we were served by all floor staff members, not one waiter, this meant that a rapport could not be established. The first course, chicken crisp was horrific and the fried truffle croquette nothing to write home about.

All in all I had an enjoyable night, but would not go back, although maybe my expectations were too high. I would rather go to Melbourne to a place with more ambiance.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Fabulous!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2012

They were full for lunch, and we had three young kids in tow so we opted for the bistro/bar menu... Wow! My Wagyu beef in white wine sauce was just perfect. The kids fish & chips was healthy, and the wife's pumpkin soup heavenly. Only suggestion is that, for the kids, and I know this is the gourmet/foodie restaurant, but would have been great to have the same carrots that I had with my beef, for the kids instead of salad. We dropped back in for sundowners and the Mountain Goat Ale (2 pots) and a sherry after exploring local forests with the kids... Sun streaming into the bar lounge with warm fire. I recommend Grove Cottage self-contained accommodation in Dunkeld - quiet cottage walking distance. Also highly recommend The Old Bakery for breakfast and sour dough bread(s).

  • Visited July 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Bistro”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

Had a lovely meal in the Bistro, with fish and steak cooked to perfection, professional, very friendly and generous service, bright and welcoming ambiance. Will return for some serious degustation

Visited July 2012
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Melbourne, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A 4 hour drive for nothing very spesh…..”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

After reading so many positive reviews about this place I find it heart-breakingly disappointing that my personal experience at Royal Mail was nothing to pen paper for.
I have travelled and eaten at some of the most amazing regions of Europe, Asia & Australia and I know a thing or two about Degustation dining - my most often and recent being at Vue De Monde, Melbourne.
What I cannot say is how this place deserves the acclaim that it has received.
I also cannot understand how it can command the prices that it does.
Was the day I ate there an 'off day'?
Perhaps.
So does this mean I can get a refund on my $300+ dining outlay?
Somehow I don't think so.
I should have made a fuss to the staff.
I should have sent that bland, soggy skinned duck (with calamari and sea veg) back to the kitchen.
But I didn't.
Why?
Because we all have 'off days', I guess.
But these guys are supposedly trained (and trained well).
They should recognise their faults before the diner does.
What comes out of that kitchen should scream 'I'm worth of your every dollar. Now shut up and devour me'.
But mine didn't.

We are facing the reality of a downturned economy.
We all work hard for our money.
We all have overheads to pay.
I don't have to spend the money that I do on food experiences; hell, I could feed a village with what I have spent in one sitting.
But I do it (when I can) because I respect the passion in our highly evolved food industry.
I respect the craft, the effort, the sweat, the tears.
Hence, it should respect mine in return.

I'm going to file this experience in the 'good idea at the time' drawer.
I will not be back.
I will not recommend anyone to visit either, not worth the fuel or time.
We all have more valuable things and experiences to spend our hard-earned money on.
This is not one of them.

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“You have to try this place if you are a Foodie”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2012

Had my birthday celebration dinner on the weekend and loved the food and was sooo full by the end (Omnivore $175pp).
The egg dish and the chocolate dessert dish were my favorite and dish I liked least was the pigeon.
Also had lunch when we arrived and food was amazing, felt like i was eating at a 5 star restaurant in Melbourne CBD...only sooo much better

  • Visited July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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