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Tregan Borg reviews ‘Stray Neighbour’ in Preston

STRAY NEIGHBOUR463-467 Plenty Road, Preston

Stray Neighbour is best described as a vibey neighbourhood eatery/bar/local hangout. The love child of three Preston locals who wanted to create somewhere that locals could feast on some tasty food and enjoy a cold drink.

Located on Plenty Road Preston, and set into a converted panel beating shop it’s everything you would expect from an inner-city equivalent in the outer northern suburbs. Warehouse conversion and clever fit-out, open indoor space, cosy outdoor space, rotating craft beers (12 taps to choose from) and a menu offering European inspired dishes from local chef Romina Gagliardo who previously worked under Jaques Reymond.

Snack choices consist of a variety of savoury, salty choices that are the perfect pairing to a drink or five. For smaller think the likes of prawn popcorn ($9), leek and gruyere croquettes ($3.50 each) chicken liver parfait, pickles and toast ($9), grilled chicken thigh and lemon myrtle salt ($12) or for a $25 you could ‘Pig Out’ cured meats, Onion Jam, Olive & Rosemary. 

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Prawn popcorn – don’t think corn kernels, we’re talking small prawns, battered (quite heavily) and deep fried into little bite size morsels that you dip generously into lemon aioli and pop into your mouth. It was a big serve, easily shared between four, which for $9 is a bit of a steal. 

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Croquettes were also generous and mega sized! Everything you expect from a great croquette, fine crumb, fried until deeply golden with the perfect crust, and once bitten oozing with a puree of silky soft leek and gruyere. At $3.50 each the perfect salty accompaniment to nice cold pint.

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Cured Spanish mackerel, fennel and citrus ($16) provided an unintentional palate cleanse in-between courses. Lots of citrus flavour, with the cured slices mackerel flesh, fresh and pureed fennel. A zesty and light dish, again generous enough to share.

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Flinders Island lamb with a jerusalem artichoke and silverbeet ($32) is one of the larger options and perfect for sharing between two-three people. Served quite wet with natural slow cooked juices, there was lots of true lamb flavour to be enjoyed.

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Side of choice; Roast cauliflower, almond and pedro ximenez vinegar ($9). Served as a large quarter chunk of cauliflower roasted with assumingly a very generous amount of butter to a dark golden brown, then hit with sharp pedro ximenez vinegar to balance the creamy, richness that the deep roasting provides.

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Despite full bellies, I always tend to find space for a sweet thing. Being a true sucker for anything that is sweet & creamy the baked yoghurt, orange and honeycomb ($14) was an obvious choice. The dish retained a sourness that a true natural yoghurt holds, and the ultra-smooth consistency in company with the sharp, crunchy honeycomb was the perfect finish to what was a really enjoyable meal. 

The daily specials board is worth a look, and always a good sign the chef care about the food and enjoys creating for the customer.  Service was attentive, and respectable.

As for the drinking, craft beers are seasonal and there is lots of choice, wine list is predominantly Australian with the added bonus of a late weekday license (11pm weekdays, 12am Fri & Sat).

Whether it’s a casual Friday afternoon drink, graze, dinner, or go the full hog (feed me at $55 with dessert) I would welcome this stray neighbour to my street any day of the week. 

Click PLAY below to hear more from Tregan on 3AW Breakfast

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