Cromwell Food and Wine Restaurants

All about Kiwi Food & Hospitality

Written by Jenny McLeod

The Stoaker Room Bistro & Bar with its barrel cuisine cooked in original French Oak Pinot Noir wine barrels is a standout experience designed specifically for Kiwis who are attracted by the restaurant’s philosophy of “hunt, gather, eat and enjoy”. 

Founder and co-owner Quintin Quider invented the novel Stoaker cookers for cooking wild meat fish and seafood originally launching them at his Wild Earth restaurant in the Goldmining Centre in the Kawarau Gorge. Two years ago, together with co-owner Sue Barbara they relocated to a site beside Crowell’s Freeway Orchard and rebranded to The Stoaker Room – a move which has seen an upsurge in business despite the Covid-19 challenges during that time.

“We have so much support from local people in the region as well as people from all over the country that we are achieving better results than previously,” says Quintin.  “The brand is designed for Kiwis – the concept is all about enjoying good food with friends over a wine or beer.”

The Stoaker Room is a rustic indoor and outdoor setting overlooking Lake Dunstan and a large marquee  provides a special ambience when lit up at night.

The restaurant’s signature dish is The Banquet which Quintin says has always been number one on the menu.

“It is designed for sharing and consists of the chef’s selection of five wild food tasting dishes served on a wine barrel stave matched with our Wild Earth award-winning wines. Our other signature dish is The Butcher’s Board which is for six to eight people and has a good following. It includes fish and lamb, pork belly, steak and vegetables and together with matched wines provides a special meal to share with others.”

The Stoaker Room has a cellar door and craft beer bar with a diverse selection of beer, ciders and wine available.

“People can drop in for a beer and order something from the a la carte menu such as Mac n’ cheese, burgers or quesadillas,” he says. “ It is very affordable for customers who just want to call in for a snack and and catch up with friends.”

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available and The Stoaker Room also has a catering service which includes a chef preparing food in a barrel before guests in a private home or at weddings, events and other functions.

“We steam, bake, grill and smoke our delicious array of regional foods on the spot, just as we do at the restaurant,” says Quintin. “ Together with Wild Earth wines we offer a genuine food and wine experience which remains true to its Kiwi roots.”

Hunter Gatherer

In another life The Stoaker Room Bar & Bistro co-owner Quintin Quider was a commercial diver and enticed by the South Island’s rugged coast some 30 years ago moved from the US to Stewart Island.

That was the beginning of his love affair with the Kiwi way of life and after several years paua diving he moved to Central Otago and launched Wild Earth Wines. While today he no longer owns the vineyard prominent winemaker Jen Parr makes his award-winning wines under the same label which are matched with food on The Stoaker Room menu.

During his time as a wine grower Quintin invented the Stoaker cooker and entertained friends, cooking freshly caught trout and wild game on the banks of the Kawarau River – and the rest is history.

“ The Stoaker Room has been a real adventure and our journey is all about sharing stories and meeting new friends along the way at the same time providing a memorable Kiwi experience.”

About the author

Jenny McLeod