Dekton® by Cosentino in Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel
February 19, 2019
Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel provides an immersive and sensorial experience for guests, from the boardwalk journey through Australian native gardens to the majestic views of the Grampians mountains. All tables have a view of the kitchen allowing guests to see Executive Chef Robin Wickens and his team prepare degustation menus using local produce harvested from the kitchen garden.
The design creates an experience in which guests can engage with food, wine and place. Sheer glass walls to one side of the dining room expose the intricate workings of the kitchen; a handcrafted cellar with more than 700 bottles of rare wine pierces through the space near the entry; and the northern façade offers a magnificent view of the southern Grampians mountain range and ancient red gum trees.
The fit out is a fusion between locally sourced raw materials and highly refined European products. This reflects Wickens’ approach to food and wine with seasonal produce harvested from the local garden, and the wine collection formed with varied and refined international brands.
Local materials form the architecture of the space, creating a connection to place. The timber-batten-lined ceiling in the dining room is locally sourced hardwood and references the wool sorting tables found in the woolsheds of this agricultural region. The wine cellar with rounded shelves is crafted from blackbutt by a local artisan and inspired by vernacular architecture, in particular the sheep race (for sheep handling), which are scattered across the landscape. Floor and wall tiles are made from locally quarried sandstone, and dining tables have 50-millimetre-thick solid sandstone tops, quarried in Dunkeld and handcrafted by local stonemasons.
Refined European products are used furnish the space, expressing the refinement that is inherent in the food. This includes Walter Knoll dining and lounge chairs, Viabuzzuno hand-blown glass pendant lights, Tretford fine wool carpet and Dekton by Cosentino® in the kitchen.
Byrne Architects worked closely with Robin Wickens and the Royal Mail Hotel team. The rare circumstance to design the kitchen from scratch with Wickens involved provided the opportunity to create a kitchen based on the food, service and desired dining experience.
The kitchen is open and bright with a floor-to-ceiling glass front. This allows every dining table to have a full view of the kitchen, and a chefs table inside adds another level of relationship for the diners. Guest are invited into the kitchen during service, demonstrating the authenticity of the service and providing the opportunity for interaction with the chefs.
Wickens wanted the kitchen to have premium materials and equipment. He also wanted a kitchen with warmth and intentionally steered away from stainless steel as it is innately cold and sterile. Wickens had seen a couple of kitchens with Dekton® surfaces and identified it as the best material for a non-stainless-steel kitchen. Designed specifically for a food environment, Dekton® allows the chefs to put hot and cold dishes straight onto the benchtop, and to work with food directly on it. It provides a constant chilled temperature for rolling pastry or kneading bread, and the robustness of the surface means fish can be filleted and dishes caramelised or charred with a blow torch.
All of this is visible to diners. Dekton® Korus from the Dekton® Solid Collection is a calm grey shade that brings a warm and sober tone to the kitchen, allowing the visual focus to fall on the chefs and their work.
“Dekton® is designed for working with food. You can put hot and cold things straight onto the benchtop – rolling pastry or kneading bread where you need a constant chilled temperature or cooking directly on it with a blow torch. I have never used anything like it.”
“Guests are invited into the kitchen during service, such is our pride in the space.”
Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel is an award-winning, fine-dining restaurant where guests have a full view of the kitchen and passionate team at work. Dekton® Korus provides a kitchen work surface that the chefs can cook and cut directly on, with a calm grey shade that allows the visual focus to fall on their work.
- Project: New build
- Concept: Fine-dining restaurant with a view of the kitchen
- Location: Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, Victoria
- Completed: October 2017
- Duration of the project: Six months for design and construction
- Design: Byrne Architects
- Construction: Adam Takach
Dekton® Korus for kitchen work surfaces