The Royal Mail Dining Room became Wickens at the Royal Mail in late 2017 and was named after executive chef Robin Wickens. The eatery offers a seasonal chef's menu for dinner from Thursday to Saturday, and it’s a thoughtful and playful approach to fine dining. Tables are spaced out to maintain a level of intimacy between guests; light wood panels the ceiling and forms the curves of bottle holders in the cellar; and round stone tables are dotted with round brown leather placemats, highlighted by flying saucer-like lights that hang overhead.
Floor-to-ceiling glass adds a sheer layer between the kitchen and the dining area, the team inside lit up. Wickens mans his station and sees off each dish with a tick of approval in the form of a neatly-placed scoop of anise myrtle sorbet. Parallel to this is the view of trees, their leaves lit up by the sun, and Mount Sturgeon sitting pretty in the background.
On our visit, the meal starts with a menu sealed with green wax displaying Wickens’ logo. Seven courses can easily become nine or ten if you so please as supplementary dishes are always on offer. Amuse-bouche are loaded onto 3D-printed plates that resemble a birds-eye view of the garden and are soon followed by Wicken’s signature alphabet soup that spells out the venue’s name, filled at the table with a rich, moreish bone broth.
An earthy cylinder of beetroot holds bone marrow within its rings, topped with mulberries and sweet cicily which gives off the scent of anise. Desserts are well worth waiting for too. A scoop of cherry frozen yoghurt blankets rich chunks of brownie, while petit fours come in the form of jelly baby vegetables. We told you it was playful.
“The wine list is the biggest Burgundy wine list in the Southern Hemisphere,” the sommelier tells us. But it isn’t just Burgundy here, there’s even an entire page dedicated to Joh. Jos. Prüm too.
The list and cellar are any oenophiles dream, and the Wine Cellar Tutorial isn’t one to be missed. Guided by the Royal Mail Hotel’s sommeliers. It includes a comparative wine tasting, set amongst the hotel’s 30,000 bottle collection and costs $25 per person per 30-minute session.
If you’re looking for a more casual dining option, then it’s hard to go past the venue’s very own Parker Street Project. It's open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and it’s the best spot around for bistro-style fare. It’s kid-friendly and has an outdoor dining area with a lawn with those striking views again.