Restaurant changes course

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New owners have breathed new life into one of Arrowtown’s oldest restaurants.

Following a $150,000 refurbishment during winter, The Stables was re-rated by Queenstown’s council last Wednesday.

It formerly had an ‘adequate’-only ‘C’ rating, as noted by Mountain Scene last week, but has now been upgraded to an ‘A’.

Couple Craig and Melanie Ling bought the restaurant over winter from locals Mel and Erich Stadler, long-time operators of Queenstown’s Surreal.

A hospitality entrepreneur, Craig started the Minus 5 ice bar chain, originally in Auckland, in 2002, then in Queenstown, before taking the concept around the world, including Australia and the United States.

After living for seven years in the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean, he says they wanted to live in this part of the world as Melanie’s originally from Wanaka and he’s a former Cantabrian.

“The two of us have always liked this building.”

Built in 1873, it’s owned by Queenstown property developer Chris James.

Melanie: “I used to play [on neighbouring Buckingham Green] when I was a girl, on the rocks.

“I have lots of memories from childhood, which is phenomenal.”

Craig says they shut the restaurant to completely refurbish it.

“There’s a new kitchen, we’ve redone the bar with some gorgeous wallpaper and got new seating, new booths, new furniture, dark-stained it all, and also put in new carpet in the old part and new flooring in the new part.

“It just looks completely different.”

With new chef Joe Coles, from the UK, onboard, they’re launching a new menu today.

“We’re just doing good New Zealand comfort food.”

They’re also selling tickets for a four-course Melbourne Cup luncheon on November 6.

scoop@scene.co.nz