An expansive beer garden, worn leather couches, no tomfoolery and a strictly vegan menu – let’s get you acquainted with The Merri Clan, Preston’s new crown jewel. This mother-daughter run microcosm of social responsibility and good times is in the vanguard of Victorian pub reform. Think back to those hazy late nights spent slinging beers in your mate’s garage, surrounded by eclectic ephemera, loud voices and stained coffee tables.
The Merri Clan kind of exists as an extension of those honest, universal nights spent amongst great company, sans the bag of chips you’d typically consume and instead replete with an obnoxiously moreish vegan menu. There’s even live music sessions, open mic nights and Sundays spent heralding slick, DJ-spun beats at a central set of decks. Their website hosts the whole lineup, so you can keep the calendar (and the crew) informed well in advance.
If the word ‘vegan’ instantly turns you off a menu, hold tight and hear us out on this one. Brekky ranges from 8am ‘til 3pm, meaning you can emerge from your duvet at a lazy hour on a Sunday morning and still snag a cone of fluffy Dutch pancakes. The Merri Clan’s poffertjes (don’t worry, we can’t pronounce that either) come fully loaded with hot chocolate fudge sauce, smothered in berry compote and topped with candied pecans. They’re mouth-sized morsels of pure ecstasy and go down delightfully with a tall iced latte.
And if you think you’ve tried every acai bowl this side of Sydney, think again. The Merri Clan’s rendition is a truly wholesome interpretation of the Holy Grail bowl – expect a blend of organic acai, blueberries and other fruits topped with a homemade maple granola that’ll have you probing for the recipe.
If you’re Preston-bound for dinner or arvo drinks, expect a cavalry of vegan burgers to be the main attraction. Unlike its namesake, ‘The Big Moc’ comes stuffed with two no-beef patties, and the Pulled Mushroom Burger is stacked with BBQ’d mushies. There’s no holding back when it comes to the fries that you’ll tag-team with those buns – whether you’re in the market for a sweet potato iteration or a traditional, golden bucket of chips, the toppings selection here deserves a notable mention. Korean chilli mayo or chipotle lime aioli? We’ll leave you to ponder that one.