Neerali’s Kitchen at Stonewines

Exciting news for local foodies: as well as offering an imaginative selection of drinks, Stonewines in Whetstone now also hosts food and wine supperclub evenings.

With food prepared by Barnet-based private caterer Neerali Tailor of Neerali’s Kitchen, these have been taking place monthly, but from October they will be weekly. Despite their popularity, we managed to secure a couple of places for last week’s event and enjoyed a fun night and some top-quality tucker.

The cost per head for food is around £20 and, in our case, we had five small dishes which amounted to a really satisfying meal. Wine is generally extra unless it’s part of an inclusive tasting. Stonewines’ owner Riaz likes to theme the wines according to the food and charges about £5 per glass, however, anything from the shop is available at shelf price. Tonight the suggested wines were all bone dry whites. It’s all very tempting, so, depending on your mood, you can end up feeling like a kid in a sweetshop.

Neerali’s seasonal cooking packs a punch with vibrant Mediterranean, Latin American and Asian flavours and this was certainly some of the best food I’ve enjoyed in the area. Like our remarkable experience at Kitchen Theory in Alston Works, it pays to get away from the mainstream for something more imaginative. There’s too much box-ticking out there with predictable, all-encompassing menus.

We started off with a properly spicy Thai carrot and red pepper soup with coconut chutney followed by crab and apple on sourdough cracker (or radish and apple for veggies). Then came the deliciously sweet and savoury roast squash, ricotta and amaretti on a blue corn tostada and then the innocent-sounding tomato and berry salad which was really brought to life with soy (and sesame – I think). It looked and tasted gorgeous. We finished off with nectarine crumble and crème anglais. Every dish was vibrant, stylish and memorable.

But we were obviously also here for wine. Having had a few tasting samples, we settled on glasses of tangy Xarel.lo from Calatonia in Spain (a grape generally used for cava) and an elegant Sauvignon-Semillon by Seresin from Marlborough in New Zealand. After polishing off these, on Riaz’s suggestion we also had an aromatic, rustic Mersino Vermentino from Valdonica in Tuscany. To round things off we had the sweetly creamy tasting El Bandarra Vermut and one of the people on our table was spot-on describing it as “Eton Mess in a glass”.

It was a really fun evening and a great way of meeting other locals – and, of course, we couldn’t resist making some purchases to take home (although you don’t have to). Check the Stonewines Facebook page for Stonewines for upcoming dates and the Neerali’s Kitchen Facebook page for details of these and other things she is involved with.

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