An Appetite For Uluru

DestinAsian

1 December 2015

Australia’s most famous natural landmark is more than just a feast for the eyes. By Tatyana Leonov


Despite its remote desert location in the rust- hued Red Centre of Australia, Uluru—the mas- sive sandstone outcrop formerly known as Ayers Rock—attracts more than 250,000 visitors every year. They come to learn first-hand about the iconic monolith from its Aboriginal custodians, the Anangu people, and to watch in awe as the great rock changes color at sunrise and sunset. And for those looking for a unique gastronomic experience, there are plenty of options in the area too. Here are four standouts that should be on every foodie’s to-do list.

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

This enthralling dinner experience is among the many offerings at Ayers Rock Resort, the tourism complex that lies just outside Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. Guests are chauffeured by camel or coach to a secluded dune where they are met with outback-style canapés and champagne as

the sun sets; a bush tucker–inspired buffet din- ner (wattleseed-infused sausages; pepperberry kangaroo; crocodile Caesar salad) served with a solid selection of Australian wines follows. The evening’s entertainment includes an Anangu dance performance, but the star of the show— pardon the pun—is the sparkling night sky, with the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds clearly visible amid the southern constellations (ayersrockresort.com.au; US$138 per person).

BUSH TUCKER TOUR

SEIT Outback Australia’s two-hour Bush Tucker and Reptiles tour provides a fascinating over- view of the local flora and fauna, as well as in- sights into how the Anangu traditionally used these same resources to survive the harsh desert climate. An Anangu guide leads guests on this memorable and educational journey, demonstrating how native bush seeds are ground and introducing foods that have been eaten by the indigenous people for thousands of years: quandongs (desert peaches), bush to- matoes, honeypot ants, witchetty grubs, and termites—tastings included (seitoutbackaustralia .com.au; US$67 per person).

TALI WIRU

This intimate evening for a maximum of 20 diners begins with sunset champagne and cana- pés set to the haunting sound of a didgeridoo, followed by a lavish four-course dinner atop a tali wiru (“beautiful dune”) overlooking Uluru and the distant rock formations of Kata Tjuta. A typical meal could include kangaroo rillettes (with beetroot-and-plum puree, pistachio-nut soil, feta, and a wattleseed wafer), grilled wagyu fillet served alongside wild mushroom ragout and paperbark smoked-onion puree, and quan- dong pudding, each course accompanied by top- notch Australian wines. Later, guests can study the stars with an astronomer and end the night with a cup of hot chocolate or port sitting around a campfire (ayersrockresort.com.au; US$237).

BUSH TUCKER TRAIL

Launched last April, Ayers Rock Resort’s Bush Tucker Trail gives guests the opportunity to try dishes prepared with traditional bush ingredi- ents across all of the complex’s nine cafés and restaurants. Signature menu items range from fries with bush-tomato chutney and braised pork-belly sliders with Kakadu plum sauce to an outback pizza (topped with emu and smoked kangaroo), a lamb ragout cooked with native thyme, and a number of desserts that feature desert lime. Cocktails get an equally imagina- tive treatment—quandong caprioskas, anyone? (ayersrockresort.com.au).