463-467 Plenty Rd, Preston VIC
(03) 9471 1948
All that Preston locals Ben Stray, Daniel Stray and Andrew Chew wanted was somewhere to hang out close to home with drinks, great food, and a lively atmosphere. When they launched their own bar and restaurant in a residential area with no surrounding restaurants or shops, it seemed only fitting that they called the space Stray Neighbour.
Their intention was to create a place built by locals for locals. Each of the owners took a hands-on approach to the project, resulting in a highly bespoke space. Ben and Daniel converted the old panel-beater’s workshop and built the entire bar and restaurant fit-out from scratch. Artworks and murals by local artists cover the walls, while the furniture, leather furnishings and even the beer taps were custom crafted.
The Stray Neighbour boasts plenty of hospitality credentials. Andrew and Ben own nearby eatery, Chew Burgers and brought on board ex-Bistro Gitan chef Romina Gagliardi, Bar Manager Matt Evans and Restaurant Manager David Coster to contribute their wealth of gastronomic knowledge to the team.
This knowledge and creativity carries across to the inventive, yet accessible menu, carefully curated to show off some of the best produce Australia has to offer. Western Plains pork comes from Victoria, Rangers Valley beef from New South Wales, Hervey Bay scallops from Queensland and Flinders Island lamb arrives from Tasmania.
With so much fresh produce on offer it would be hard to go past the alluring starters, such as stout-glazed pecans with a bacon crumb, prawn popcorn with lemon dressing, and marinated grilled chicken thigh in lemon myrtle. Moving onto smaller plates, sample smoked and pickled beetroot served with goat’s curd and a crisp sesame tuile, or Spanish mackerel that is paired with black rice and a mushroom escabeche.
For something more filling, get stuck into the vegetable pissaladière topped with salted ricotta and black olives, or the crispy pork belly with white bean purée and red cabbage. If choosing becomes too diffcult, grab a table on Tuesday nights, when a special house-made fresh pasta takes over the menu.
Either way, don’t forget about dessert. The cinnamon, orange and ginger crème brûlée is sure to please with a spicy, citrus twist on an old favourite, or go all out with doughnuts, raspberry jam and vanilla custard.
If you’ve just dropped by for a drink, you’ll find a wine list to suit all tastes. Or try Stray Dog, the house pale ale with a feel-good factor – 10% of profits are donated to two animal shelters in the area.
Serving up delicious, unpretentious fare in a community-focused environment, it’s worth a visit whether you’re coming from across town or just around the corner. Stray Neighbour has quickly earned a reputation amongst the locals and it’s here to stay.