Following a three-month refit, Craggy Range Winery's restaurant is once again cooking with gas - as well as just about everything else.

Craggy Range marketing manager Lottie West said the newly-completed "full and extensive" refit started back in June.

"We have a new bar seating area, as well as a new bar snacks menu. The outdoor terrace has a new bar space as well.

"The interior has had a full refit, so there's new seating. It's really just about making it more comfortable for people to come and dwell for longer."

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There was also a new floral feature, as well as a new colour scheme for the interior.

"We worked with Auckland-based designer Izzard Design, who have come up with the whole interior. They also worked on our Cellar Door and accommodation so it's very much in keeping with that look."

Craggy Range's new restaurant. Photo / Warren Buckland.
Craggy Range's new restaurant. Photo / Warren Buckland.

West said another "important and big addition" was a new open kitchen.

"There's a new open kitchen area and a kitchen bar, so you can sit and watch the chef working in the kitchen.

"The menu has also been changed. There's a lot of new dishes. One thing we have introduced is a Hawke's Bay tasting menu. So, every dish will be from a different part of Hawke's Bay - with produce sourced from the region."

At present, the menu included items such as "coal roasted octopus" sourced from Mahia.

"The rest of the menu is also very locally and seasonally-influenced as well."

A new look for Craggy Range's restaurant. Photo / Warren Buckland.
A new look for Craggy Range's restaurant. Photo / Warren Buckland.

West said head chef Casey McDonald had been instrumental in the menu changes.

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"He came on board just over a year ago. He's got worldwide experience in Michelin-star restaurants in London and San Francisco and he's really shifted us to that local Hawke's Bay produce.

"We used to be a lot more French-focused but we decided that actually, the produce we have in this area is so incredible it made sense to bring the focus back to that. Obviously the wines we produce are very central to everything we do in the restaurant and in complementing the food."

The restaurant would host a series of "soft launches" this week and would officially reopen to the public on October 3.

Craggy Range Winery's new restaurant's floral feature. Photo / Warren Buckland.
Craggy Range Winery's new restaurant's floral feature. Photo / Warren Buckland.

Restaurant head chef Casey McDonald said the fully refitted kitchen had been custom-made in Switzerland.

"Everything is designed to fit this kitchen and it is all on one block, so no food can get dispersed down the sides. It's just built for us.

"We also have a blast chiller out the back."

McDonald said that would allow for a greater range of cooking styles, and make it easier to cater for about 100 people at a service.

"It's got so many different kinds of heat to cook with."

That included a Japanese charcoal barbecue, gas cooking tops and a stainless steel grill. The new equipment also improved the cooking range temperatures - up to 500 degrees.