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Food critic lauds Oscar W’s Wharfside as dining destination

Food critic Janne Apelgren was surprised as Echuca-Moama and district residents were to hear of the approaching closure of Oscar W’s Wharfside.

ZACH HUBBER May 26, 2014 3:47am

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Acclaimed food critic Janne Apelgren was surprised when she heard Oscar W’s Wharfside would end its lease on July 31.

The Age Good Food Guide editor reviewed the restaurant in March for the publication’s August release.

The restaurant boasts a prestigious chef’s hat in the food guide’s most recent edition.

‘‘I was pretty blown away by the location,’’ Ms Apelgren said.

‘‘I though that Echuca was blessed to have such great food and wine offerings in a gorgeous location.’’

Ms Apelgren, who has been editor of the food guide for six years, said Oscar W’s was unique due to the lack of restaurants on the Murray River.

‘‘It’s a great food destination,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s not much on the Murray that really takes advantage of what a spectacular spot it is.

‘‘It’s one of a handful along the river that matches a great setting with the history to serious food and wine.

‘‘It’s a big commitment to run a large restaurant, a quality restaurant, that far from the captive audience that any of the capitals provide.

‘‘Echuca is lucky to have it. Mildura would love to have the riverfront infrastructure that Echuca’s got.’’

She said the restaurant offered a wide range of experiences.

‘‘You can have drinks on the deck through to good steaks and an even finer dining experience,’’ she said.

‘‘It caters really well. You can have a date night or party night and that’s not easy to deliver.

‘‘It’s a big commitment by the Oberins to do it that way.’’

While admitting Oscar W’s might not be at the same standard as the Lake House in Daylesford or the Royal Mail in Dunkeld, Ms Apelgren said its ‘‘very Australian feel’’ made it exactly what tourists might be looking for.

‘‘It’s still a place you can just go to have a drink and tapas, which is part of its appeal,’’ she said.

‘‘Dean seems pretty committed to the area. (The American Hotel and Oscar W’s) are big investments.

‘‘A lot of cities the size of Echuca would be very grateful to have two places of that quality and commitment.’’

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