Leaving the big city smoke behind to bring up their family in the tranquil surroundings of Hamilton, New Zealand, Brent and Lisa Quarrie opened The River Kitchen in 2007.
The café is a warm and inviting space that resembles a farmhouse kitchen with high ceilings and morning sun that steams through the windows.
The River Kitchen aims to provide fresh and contemporary food using quality seasonal ingredients. The husband and wife team set up the cosy café complete with a deli counter, full of sandwiches and salads to cater for the busy local office workers.
Brent says The River Kitchen was one of the first cafés in the area to bring in free-range and organic produce. “We want our customers to be conscious of where their food comes from and be assured it’s fresh and quality produce,” Brent says.
Customers can try the gold-medal winning number One blend by Karajoz Coffee, a five-bean blend that barista Liam Austin says is a “medium dark roast with a bit of power that holds up
well in espresso and milk-based coffees”. “Customers can get the best of both worlds with this coffee,” Liam says. after six months making coffee at The River Kitchen, Liam says he loves the customer interaction and meeting new people each day. “It’s not just a cup of coffee, there’s a culture behind it,” he says.
The River Kitchen has an open kitchen- space with the opportunity for customers to have a chat with the chefs as they prepare meals, including café favourites – pickled mushroom, eggplant and wheat berry salad, and spanish duck pies with sherry vinegar, olives and smoked paprika.
Brent says the cafe’s success is due to a highly dedicated team, including Maria Senear, the creative hands behind the catering and pastries. “The satisfaction of doing a wonderful job and people giving us great recognition is rewarding,” Brent says. “We’ve always got tourists coming through and asking if we’d consider opening in Sydney. It puts a smile on my face.”