“Yano”, I thought, “yano, it’ll be difficult to take pictures when the flies are at rest on my face”.  Yano? I was wrong.

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The flies of Ayers Rock and surrounds are persistent local residents.  After a refreshing breakfast (click here) and evening canape situation practically coated with the l’il buggers (like panko breadcrumbs, but darker and more mobile), I couldn’t face another snacking opportunity infiltrated with flying protein.

I discovered that the much posher hotel (posher than the Outback Pioneer),  the catchily named ‘Sails in the Desert’, had a restaurant called Ilkari.

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In my enthusiasm, I was an hour early for my buffet supper experience, and took some time to wander the glorious interior, cooled by functional air conditioning.

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Even the carpets are informed by the pointilism of Aboriginal art traditions.

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Some lovely seats to relax.  I could do with one now.

Ilkari offers a dinner buffet – three courses.  Starter and dessert are selected from cold buffet counters and the main is freshly made.

I started with a little chicken caesar and rye bread and other bits to try.

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My main course was a tinsy bit of rib-eye beef and a piece of salmon with ONE potato (hello?) and a piece of broccoli. Yum.

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Other options were available:

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The hot food (main course) was prepped in an open/central kitchen area.

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Lots of people were eating cheese as a starter. To each their own! The weather was so hot, I wasn’t in the mood for cheesiness.

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The scale of cold meat options!

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There were even oysters available.  I’m not a fan anyway, but would I trust these in the heat?

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Prawns were available (I’m not a fan) and lots of different salads.

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Now this I DO appreciate – lots of types of freshly made bread.

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Desert was available from little fridges stocked with morsels of cheesecake or fondant.  Or this enormous chocolate fountain. I’m wary of these things anyway (and I don’t rate Australian chocolate at ALL – sorry Aussie friends!) and I could see the odd local flying geezer doing a backstroke through the pool of chocolate at the bottom.

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No in so many ways.

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I was very happy to have a meal that featured some salad and fresh veggies and didn’t mind the high-ish cost.  Back outside, the temperature had dropped to a balmy 32 degrees and people were still coming back from tours.  Would you be up for touring the base of Uluru on a camel?  After my experience of elephant riding in India in 2017 and a disastrous horse-rearing-drama in New Zealand in 2012, I’ll stick to Shanks’s Pony for now.

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