There’s nothing quite like enjoying dinner on a romantic restaurant by the beach as you watch the sun set in the distance.
Or sipping on a nice cocktail as you sit with your feet in the sand, watching the spectacular waves as they crash on to the reef, not far from the shore.
That’s the kind of experience you’ll have at the new OTB restaurant, located at the well-known Manuia Beach Resort in Arorangi.
Inspired by the beauty of the restaurant’s beachside location, great local ingredients and the friendly people who work there, owner Phillip Nordt says his passion for the tastes of the Pacific have never diminished.
“I am passionate about South Pacific foods so with OTB, I really want to bring back local and regional food. It is not easy to do but I know it can be done.
“The food is healthy, it has a good amount of fibre in it and the meals have lots of fresh vegetables, local seasonal products and nice sauces and lots of different colour combinations and flavours.
“I am very powerful with flavours,’ he says, laughing.
With 30 years of experience gained from travelling the world, working and managing large hotels, owning restaurants, a bakery and at one time, an entertainment bar, the 60 year-old says he feels for the first time that what he is setting out to achieve at OTB is “just right.”
“I am an entrepreneur and this is my new project. I won’t let it go until it’s the best, because it will also be my last project.
“This (Rarotonga) is a very ‘young’ place for restaurants compared to the more sophisticated food you’ll find in Europe, New Zealand or Australian,” Nordt said.
He said in the local hospitality trade there was a need for better training at middle management level and he has given many local restaurant owners ideas on how they can improve their businesses.
The hospitality tertiary tutor has big plans to improve the service at his restaurant.
“In a restaurant, when everything is perfect, everybody will notice that.
“We are not quite there at this this stage but we will be perfect. As perfect as it can get for what we do.”
With his new venture Nordt says he trying to create something new out of fresh local produce and come up with food that is inspirational.
“We have to do it slowly because change is not something you can just do overnight. People have to be ready for it.”
Nordt says every restaurant has its niche and OTB’s is their natural tasting food.
“Once we are there it will be something to watch out for.
“Everything has to be relaxed and soft here, because this is not a high powered restaurant in New York serving famous people.
This is a place in Rarotonga with love, serving food with complete freshness.”
He says he is inspired by Cook Islanders who are very talented.
“All it takes is to push that button and you can see the people come into in bloom and recognise the hospitality in their heart.