Redefining Laid-Back Luxury and Showcasing Award Winning Cuisine
Nautilus Resort just recently started adding to its trophy cabinet by taking out the inaugural Supreme Award for Restaurant of the Year, topping a group of Cook Islands eateries wowing the public with their culinary creations. At the recent La Chaine des Rotisserurs and Cook Islands Chefs Association Restaurant of the Year Awards dinner, the top award and gold medal went to Nautilus Resort’s Restaurant. The awards were chosen by hundreds of the most powerful and fussy critics – the diners themselves.
Overlooking sparkling Muri Beach and lagoon and just 20 minutes by road from Rarotonga’s international airport, the laid-back luxury of Nautilus Resort offers a fresh new dining experience showcasing Polynesian signature tastes. The cuisine is Polynesian – European fusion, using local seasonal ingredients and produce, with of course an emphasis on organic fresh produce and harvest from the sea.
Having practiced as a chef from the boutique eateries of Christchurch and Wanaka, New Zealand to exotic restaurants of Brazil , the head chef at the Nautilus is Mike Fosbender. Having recently moved to the Cook Islands with his young family, Mike explained, “I’m learning so much about a lot of different foods I had never heard of, like taro, rukau, pinapi, and poke.” One of the best things about traditional Cook Island foods for me is the simplicity of the flavours, and how they work for infusion and influence different cuisines.”
Mike is slowly putting his own little spin into the dishes being served, with Polynesian being the menu focus with influences with French, Italian or Japanese cuisines. “Though I didn’t want to go too extreme with infusion, most of the influences on the menu are from Euro areas at this point in time, although I do have some great ideas for our next menu change to bring in a few more influences from Asia. Mostly I am using techniques from other cuisines, whilst retaining flavours of the Cook Islands and the Polynesian region,” Mike added.
The Restaurant of the Year awarding winning entry:
Braised lemongrass pork belly on sumac crumbed eggplant with organic herb salsa and carambola & star anise sauce.
Accompanied by a Jules Taylor Pinot Gris
Steamed Parrotfish stuffed with roast pumpkin and wrapped in rukau leaf, served on Kumara fondant, snake beans and vanilla coconut curry sauce.
Accompanied by Giessen The Brothers Chardonnay
Coconut custard with pawpaw poke and deep fried banana & walnut semi-fredo.
Accompanied by Frangelico served with a slice of fresh lime
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Accommodation is in villas spread over one single level, each built and furnished to elegant luxury standards. Choose between two and three bedroom villas with ensuites, full kitchen, eating area (light tropical breakfast provided daily in restaurant) and private plunge pool, lounge and dining terrace, or the junior suite, with king bed, ensuite and kitchenette. Your choice of absolute beachfront or garden views.
• ‘Our locals’ in authentic sharing of Cook Island song and dance, far from consumerism.
• Take a guided tour or free-walk into the indigenous forest of Rarotonga, or a mountain safari to see the spectacular panoramic vistas. Take a dip in a tropical rock pool and waterfall, and view native wild flowers and fruits.
• Experience one of nature’s unique happenings, the spectacle of migrating whales from the cooler waters of the Antarctica to the Cook Islands, in mating and calving season – June to October.
• The Avarua town markets where locals trade for fresh fruit, fish, vegetables, delicious local dishes and traditional handicrafts.
• Try your hand at Game Fishing: Tuna, Marlin, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo – have the Nautilus chef prepare your catch
• Snorkel the Muri Lagoon in the calm waters directly in front of your villa
• A private indigenous food and medicinal plant safari with the Nautilus guide into local tropical forest and plantations. Learn how the locals cook and prepare with Cook Islands indigenous vegetables, fruits and herbs; Breadfruit, Papaya, Sour sop, Banana, Taro, Mango and fresh coconut. Discover medicinal plants, unique tropical flora and fauna