Tali Wiru, August 2016

In August I was able to knock a bucket list item off the list, by visiting Uluru in the centre of Australia. It certainly was an amazing trip and I am so happy I was able to get there and experience the culture. The food there was a bit hit and miss, as there was only one resort – with many restaurants and price points – but we did have one special night, under the stars, with the most amazing food and drink. This is my night at Tali Wiru (TripAdvisor).

Tali Wiru

Our pickup was from the hotel before sunset. A large van drove us out to a secluded desert dune where we were met by a host with glasses of champagne. As the sun slowly set over the land, we were afforded some incredible views over Uluṟu and Kata Tjuṯa, while we were entertained by a didgeridoo player and served some amazing canapés.

Braised crocodile bao
Braised crocodile bao

While I wish I had photographed the whole experience, I was honestly just enjoying myself far too much and probably a little in awe of the place I was standing in. I did take a copy of the menu home with me though, so can correctly label my night. To start with, we had a selection of four canapés, served with the delicious Perrier-Jouet, Grand Brut Champagne.

Pan seared scallop, native finger lime
Emu prosciutto crostini, pickled quandong
Braised crocodile bao
Blue cheese gougères

Before the sun got too low, the groups attending this dinner were escorted to their tables at the top of the dune. It is probably worth mentioning there couldn’t have been more than twenty of us, so it felt very private and personalised. Of course, the temperatures drop at this time of year, so we were wrapped up well, but luckily had gas heaters spread around us too.

Dinner under the stars

The whole meal was wine matched, and admittedly I couldn’t keep up, despite the length of the meal, but did try everything that was put in front of me. There were three of us and the meal consisted of three choices for each course, so we all chose differently, however I really only managed to get decent photos of what I ordered.

After our orders were taken we started with a lovely amuse bouche of “cauliflower espuma, sevruga caviar” matched with the “Curlewis ‘Bel Sel’ Chardonnay” from the Bellarine Peninsular, Victoria.

Cauliflower espuma, sevruga caviar
Cauliflower espuma, sevruga caviar

For my entrée I decided upon the “poached king prawns with a lemon myrtle scented green pea buttermilk, Jamon Iberico & confit fennel salad“. The wine match for this meal wasn’t what I wanted, so I instead chose the “Henschke Littlehampton Innes Pinot Gris” from the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It was such a lovely dish, and as I have a penchant for Pinot Gris, that tasted amazing too.

Poached king prawns
Poached king prawns

Soufflés can be incredible when they are savoury, and that is why I chose one for my main course. The “cloth aged cheddar soufflé with pickled muntries, glazed asparagus, lilly pillie and cabbage puree & beurre noisette crumble” was just heavenly. In particular, the crumble was out of this world. Dee-Anne also had a beautifully cooked blueWagyu beef fillet“, probably the best one she has ever had. Thankfully, the wine match was something I do like, a “Mitchell McNicol Riesling” from the Clare Valley, South Australia.

Cloth aged cheddar soufflé
Cloth aged cheddar soufflé

Following our main courses we were treated to what some might call an astronomy lesson and others might call a laser light show. Put simply, one of our hosts used a laser pointer to point out the constellations that we could see in the night sky, including a few planets. Thanks to a very late moon rise and the lack of light pollution in the outback, I saw the milky way, a shooting star and was just blown away by how much I could see. I wish I had a photo to share, but handholding a long-exposure shot in the cold desert is not an easy feat.

I will admit I chose wrong for my dessert. Not that my dessert wasn’t delicious, but mum chose an even tastier one! The “wild rosella verrine with rosella mousse, yoghurt panna cotta, raspberry jelly & musk scented meringue” was my choice, while mum chose the “warm Daintree Estates chocolate tart with a citrus salad, lemon aspen curd, desert lime compote & crème fraîche“. We all had the “De Bortoli Noble One Semillon Botrytis” from Bilbul, New South Wales, to match our desserts.

Wild rosella verrine
Wild rosella verrine

You would think that the night ended there, but it didn’t. Following dinner we were escorted back down the dune to the campfire we were served our canapés at. The didgeridoo player was long gone, but the fire was glowing and hot chocolate and cognac were provided to round out the night, before we were back on the bus and heading to the resort.

An amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone that is considering heading out to the red centre. It’s not a cheap experience, but you will not be left disappointed at the end of it.

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