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Best Kept Secret in Cromwell

Award-winning Wild Earth Wines has created a stylish new venue in its bid to inspire people with a memorable New Zealand food and wine experience at The Stoaker Room Bistro and Bar in Cromwell.

Originally established at Goldfields Mining Centre in the Kawarau Gorge it has recently relocated its Stoaker Barrel Cuisine operation to Freeway Orchard, opening a new chapter for co-owners Quintin Quider and Sue Barbara.

“We’ve developed a relaxed and rustic indoor and outdoor setting in Cromwell in a beautiful spot nestled beside fruit trees and overlooking Lake Dunstan,” says Sue. “We wanted to create a real connection with the land, away from the hustle and bustle, where people can enjoy our award-winning wines and barrel cuisine made for sharing with friends and family.”

The Stoaker Room Bistro & Bar is widely known for its distinctive New Zealand food and wine pairings and its signature dish, The Banquet, is a drawcard.

“Cooking wild foods inside wine barrels is something we developed in our restaurant at the Goldfields Mining Centre and is our distinctive point of difference,” says Quintin. “The Banquet is what we have become known for – it consists of the chef’s selection of five tasting dishes served on a wine barrel stave matched with five of our wines including Riesling, Rosé, Pinot Gris and two Pinot Noir vintages. We have served our Stoaker Barrel Cuisine to many people over the last ten years and its popularity keeps growing.”

The Stoaker Room Bistro & Bar incorporates a cellar door and craft beer bar with a range of wine, cider and beers on tap. An appealing a la carte menu includes burgers and sandwiches with take-out options available.

“Our food is designed for people to enjoy together,” says Sue. “We have introduced a wonderful new menu choice called The Butchers Block that serves up a whole fish, alongside lamb, steak, pork belly, potatoes and vegetables on a large wine barrel lid.  Add a bottle of Wild Earth wine and it’s a lovely food and wine match for up to six people. Local people have embraced the new space here in Cromwell and the feedback is the experience is better than ever before.”

Open seven days from 10.00am until late The Stoaker Room Bistro & Bar has a knowledgeable cellar door team and wait staff who are passionate about the Wild Earth wine and food experience.

“Wild Earth is about New Zealand and the beautiful outdoors,” says Quintin. “That’s what the name represents to us alongside friendly Kiwi hospitality.”

Kiwi Way of Life

Quintin Quider first came to New Zealand from the United States in 1992 where he experienced the sea, land, people and Kiwi way of life.

“As a commercial paua diver, I originally came here for the fishing,” says Quintin, “and what I remember most about that first time was how friendly Kiwis are.  I have always loved catching, preparing and cooking food and entertaining with friends and Wild Earth Wines came about because of that passion.”

Once established Wild Earth Wines quickly rose to prominence winning awards for every vintage and today the wines are made by Jenn Par from Valli Wines.

The development of Stoaker Barrel Cuisine was the next step in Quintin’s journey.

“We wanted to offer people tasty food to enjoy with our wines as the complete dish. A fellow paua diver named Stormalong Stanley from Stewart Island came up with the original concept for barbecuing in a wine barrel and he and I built one on the side of the Kawarau River. We added some water in the bottom of the barrel because we were not sure if it would work and that provided a wonderful steam effect that made the salmon and mussels we cooked beautifully soft – it was the best salmon I had ever tasted.”

He says the Stoaker Room Bistro & Bar is very much about the New Zealand experience he first encountered.

“The bistro is designed to be natural, rustic, and relaxed in style – we’re not about fine dining – this is food and wine presented in a friendly environment to create that memorable Kiwi experience.”