Given the steady gastronomic transformation of Thornbury, it was inevitable that the spread should continue further north. Preston is about to get stamped on the Melbourne food map thanks to a savvy crew with some real chops behind them.
Preston local Andrew Chew (Chew Burger, No Vacancy Gallery) has teamed up with co-owners brothers Ben and Daniel Stray (a builder and a landscaper, respectively), to create an impressive new space that looks like it might've been plucked straight from backstreet Fitzroy – Ghost Patrol artwork and all.
The team has converted the airy, 600-square-metre space (formerly a panel beater's) into a handsome, multi-zone area that includes comfortable booths, bar seating, a well-spaced dining area and heated courtyard.
Heading up the kitchen is Jacques Reymond alumna Romina Gagliardi, most recently of Bistro Gitan and also a local. She's focusing on well priced, Euro-influenced fare, with an emphasis on casual sharing, while ex-Bistro Gitan front of house Dave Coster is in charge of service, wines and the dozen or so craft beers on tap.
Open Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 3pm-midnight; Sun noon-10pm.
Stray Neighbour, 463-467 Plenty Road, Preston, 9471 1948, strayneighbour.com.au