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The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
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The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

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Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
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Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
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Scott Pickett to open a deli and rôtisserie at the Queen Victoria Market

Artist impression of Pickett's Deli and Rotisserie in the Queen Victoria Market

Artist impression of Pickett's Deli and Rotisserie in the Queen Victoria Market

Chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett likes to mix it up. While his Melbourne showpiece ESP delivers dégustation only, next month he opens Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie in the Queen Victoria Market - offering a more casual, European-style deli, restaurant and wine bar all in one.

A rôtisserie and charcuterie station will form the soul of the luxed-up deli, which will be open seven days from 7am until 11pm on the corner of Elizabeth and Therry streets. Almost everything on the menu - including the wine - will also be available to takeaway.

At breakfast, Duke's coffee and bacon and egg butties will be on offer - the bacon house-cured and smoked, then slow-roasted overnight in the rôtisserie and carved in the morning to order. There'll be roast chicken daily, available as a sandwich or for dining in with the likes of tarragon mayo and pickles, and a special roast du jour - perhaps Hopkins River beef with horseradish, Yorkshire puddings and a "big dirty gravy", says Pickett. "No cheffy sauces."

Pickett's Deli will seat a humble 36 people - 20 around a six-metre communal table, and the remaining on stools at a marble-topped charcuterie counter. "It'll feel a bit like you're sitting at a floating island in someone's home," he says.

The space will transform into a wine bar at night. A "short and sharp" dinner menu will include the likes of rôtisserie wagyu ox tongue with pickled quince, and boudin noir with apples and Calvados, as well as snacks such as oysters, devilled eggs and assorted cheeses. ESP designers Hirsch Bedner Associates are in charge of the fit-out, which will see wrap-around shelving stocked high with wine and the deli's own pickles, preserves and vinegars. "I've been to the markets every morning at 3am and we've done over two thousand jars in a month," says Pickett. Former ESP sous-chef Aaron Brodie (formerly of Cumulus Inc and Pied à Terre) will be in the kitchen, while James Dossen, the current sommelier at ESP, is wrangling a wine list of about two-dozen bottles, all available by the glass.

Our appetite for roast chicken is only growing, it seems. At the same time as Paul Wilson gets ready to open Wilson & Merchant, a chicken shop and restaurant at Prahran Market, the humble chook is a must-order at Sydney restaurants including No 1 Bent Street, Hubert, The Paddington, and, as of last week, even Bennelong.

The Queen Vic will be Pickett's first stop when it comes to sourcing produce for the menu; the market holds a special place in his heart. "One of my earliest memories is of going to Queen Vic when I was four with my dad and having my first bratwurst," he says. "In 25 years' time I want to be walking through the markets with my kids telling the chef at Pickett's that the chicken's been on for too long."

Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie is slated to open on 15 September.

Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie, 503 Elizabeth St, Melbourne

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