Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld

Dunkeld is a quiet country town, with not much else other than the Royal Mail. It’s at the base of the Grampians, about 3.5 hours drive from Melbourne. Odd to have a Michelin-star-quality restaurant in the middle of nowhere, but somehow, it lends to the charm of the place.

The Royal Mail Hotel has been on the ‘to-dine-at’ list for S and myself for some time now, so when we finally got around to it, expectations were pretty high. I must warn you that there is likely to be many superlatives in this post because, in short, this place completely blew me away.

Not only was the meal one of the best I’ve ever had, but the room, surrounds, ambience and staff were exceptional.

About to have my mind blown

Menu Omnivore – June 23rd 2012

Course One

Rice paper, finger lime and salmon roe

The rice paper had the texture of a prawn cracker. Light and refreshing, it was a perfect opener.

Rainbow trout, coffee, black treacle, chicken crisp

Sticky and sweet rainbow trout, delicious. The winner on this plate, however, was the chicken crisp. It looks deceptively ‘plain’ but just one bite of this feels like you’ve just put an entire roast chicken dinner in your mouth. At this point, S just began laughing maniacally.

Course Two

Tomato and prawn, thai basil, daikon ice

The tomato and prawn had an intense flavour which was cut through beautifully by the daikon ice. It always makes me happy when I can say ‘I’ve never had anything like this before!’

Course Three

Pancetta and spanner crab, rye cream, candied radish

So much flavour packed into such a small serving. I’m a big fan of contrasting textures on a plate so I loved the soft, salty pancetta against the smooth rye cream. Throw in the crunch of the candied radish and I’m pretty happy right about now.

Course Four

Egg yolk and new potatoes, salt cod, fish crackling

Breaking the yoke on this and watching the velvety yoke run through the potatoes and cod was so comforting. Those tiny, wee little potatoes were cooked to perfection. Oh, and FISH CRACKLING!

Course Five

Hapuku and chestnut, toasted nori and chicory

I’m usually unimpressed with white fish so I wasn’t expecting much with this course. This course made me realise how awesome it can be. I’ve never had hapuku before but I want it again! The fish was buttery and flaky, and the single chicory leaf gave it just a slight bitterness that was spot on.

Course Six

Eel and bone marrow, eggplant, pickled vegetables

Oh god. OH GOD. The closest I’ve ever come to having a religious experience was this course.

Course Seven

Pigeon, salsify and medlar, cabbage braised in pecorino

This was the only course that didn’t entirely work for me, however, not through any fault of the chef. The pecorino was insanely intense and had very ‘blue-cheese’ qualities to it. Not being a fan of blue cheese, it was a bit too much for me, but S (who adores blue cheese) scoffed this down.

Course Eight

Fallen fruit: apple, almond, caramel, chamomile

Sort of like a deconstructed strudle. How could something so ugly taste so damn good?

Course Nine

Quince and coffee, pumpkin, plum, aniseed

Pumpkin ice-cream? Totally works! Getouttahere!

Course Ten

Pistachio, hazelnut, honeycomb, chocolate

Chocolate is always a crowd-pleaser, however it’s the pistachio that was the star on this plate. Paired with a milk chocolate ice-cream and exactly the right amount of honeycomb pieces. There’s a kind of genius behind this dish.

TL;DR: Incredible. I’ll be back.

Long Live the Queen!

Don’t ever Apologize for What You Feel!
Congrats UK and it’s people on the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth!

riley's random review

Rule Britannia!

I apologise in advance, this post will be patriotic, royalist and probably a tad jingoistic too. This weekend, as you cannot fail to have noticed, was Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. 60 years on the throne (no jokes about a lack of fibre in her diet, please) were marked with a flotilla, a concert, and a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. What was remarkable about the celebrations for this Jubilee is that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people turned out to show their support for the Royal Family at every event, even when it was pissing it down on Sunday. Last night (Monday) I met up with my friend Will (who was going to write for this blog, then got distracted by something shiny), his girlfriend, and his family in St. James’ Park, just off The Mall, which is the road you can see in the picture…

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The beautiful New Apple TV

New Apple TV

Please do not bully your old flat panel, after all you can re-assign it to another room; or donate it to a charitable cause!

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 Here It Is, The New Apple TV


What a delicious concept to Mother Your Own Business!  Well it should be Mothered, after all don’t our clients need it sometimes?  On this Mothers Day, I thought it particularly important to focus on getting a bit personal in business.

Getting personal may take a nicely baked cake, a half-baked idea, or a good swift kick in the pants!

Mothers Day 2012, let’s also give our Moms some kudos, after all she helped create the entrepreuneral genius that your are, and have M.D. stand for Mothers Day!

Just a thought! So, Mother your clients, and reward your Mom! Genius. Of course!

Notes: A Purse shaped cake is a good reminder that the relationship still involves $$$,
prompt payments are still expected, as per contractual obligations (Mom is very
proud of this last line)!

Mayne Island Super moon on May 5 2012

Super Moon looking like Super Nova!

Creative Potager

What a moon! What a Saturday night day night out here on Mayne Island, British Columbia Canada. A crowd of about a dozen people joined me at Seaview Beach in Bennett Bay for the moon rising. It is the first time in my five years of living on the island that I had company join me on a photo shoot. Quite festive really and great to see others out capturing the experience first hand as well.

But let’s begin at the beginning shall we. A long time ago on May 1, 2012 I was out in the evening on Reef Bay – a pleasant evening though there were rain showers in the distance.

It was then that I looked up and saw this amazing moon high in the sky.

I had been seeing things posted here and there about some super moon. So I said to self – what if…

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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. Mark Twain

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Farm Fresh: Farming in Dubai’s desert

Array of recipes to compliment various  needs & tastes!