Walking into Guildford restaurant Oscar’s is much more akin to strolling into a cosy bed and breakfast (or even a mate’s quirky home) than a slick, brand-new eatery.
The dining room’s soft sage-green walls are contrasted by pops of pink – including a charming pink fireplace – while an invitingly large and worn-in Chesterfield sits in the corner. This isn’t a sleek, million dollar fit out kind of place: this has family written all over it.
“Oscar’s is as family run as you can get,” co-owner Drew Tennant tells us. Drew is one of the few staff members not related by blood or marriage – although he grew up with Head Chef and co-owner Justin Hughes.
A stint in Sydney saw Justin on the pans at Becasse, the ill-fated yet highly lauded French fine diner, then working under Neil Perry and Phil Wood at Rockpool on George – the OG of the now-famous Rockpool empire.
Justin’s father Tony is the third owner of Oscar’s, and his little-known nickname is the inspiration behind landing on the restaurant’s final name. His life-long career in hospitality goes all the way back to buying his first country pub in his early 20s.
“Justin and I wanted to name the restaurant after him and present a venue that felt like you were dining at his house with his famous welcoming hospitality – great food, good wine, minus the stuffiness of fine dining.”
“Tony’s wife and Justin’s mum, Gail, also works in the business – coming up from York on Fridays and Saturdays to work in the restaurant. Our restaurant manager, Simon, is Gail’s brother, Justin’s wife Chloe works a couple of days a week and we have several other family members working with us.”
This family-oriented approach also extends to their WA-exclusive suppliers, even sourcing whole lamb directly from one of Tony and Gail’s neighbours.
With no effort spared in its sourcing, it’s no surprise that the lamb is the standout of the menu – in our case, served in a variety of methods that work to each cut’s advantage.
“Each cut is served in a different way and we use the whole lamb to offer it in the most sustainable way.”
The ever-changing menu also featured plenty of seafood on our visit, including a red mullet imbued with York Gum smoke, and charred fish wings served atop a sweet eggplant puree.
“Our focus at Oscar’s is on supplying local, fresh and seasonal produce and our ever changing menu reflects this,” Drew explained, also noting a focus on sustainably sourcing seafood.
“We generally update items on our menu every four to six weeks, and there are only about three or four items on our menu that would be the same since we opened in May last year.”
Oscar’s At Guildford Landing is located at 114 Swan Street, Guildford