Thursday, April 26, 2012

10 William Street: Addressing Paddington

The Sydney suburb of Paddington made news recently for the wrong reasons, although it's hard not to notice the abundance of 'For Lease' signs perched above retail store awnings all along Oxford Street.

But I'm sure the suburb that once was will be again, especially with the likes of 10 William Street calling Paddington home.

Upstairs at 10 William Street, William Street, Paddington
From the same people behind Potts Point's Italian institution Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William Street is a wine bar that boasts a serious menu of Italian eats in the fashion-centric William Street.

There's no signage at the street front, nor inside, but you'll recognise the retro black tiled frontage with big glass windows opening up to cosy groups quaffing wine beneath blackboards proffering a healthy collection of wines.

First level
The first street-level floor of 10 William Street is more your small bar, with dim and intimate seating for small groups as well as a few seats at the bar. It's not any brighter upstairs but there's more of a restaurant feel, cosily spartan as it is.

We were looked after extraordinarily well upstairs by waiter Owen, who at an earlier hour contends with us and just one other table but later manages the entire room with smooth ease. We're started on prosecco from the Veneto region, because it's always good to start with bubbles.

A generous dish of mixed olives came along - Sicilian, Ligurian and Kalamata - which really do make one of the best drinking snacks ever. (And apologies now for fuzzy photos - it was seriously dark and I was drinking the whole way through).

A gorgeous smell preceded the arrival of the crowd-pleasing arancini, which feature Paesanella mozzarella that gets that rubbery texture I adore when cooled a little. They're served with a blob of mustard fruit chutney that’s not pretty but was definitely a tasty match.

Fior di latte, beets, heirloom tomatoes
The soft, stretched fior di latte cheese is sourced from Victoria, because 10 William Street think it’s the best in Australia. They could well be right - there are definite creamy flavours and savouriness in the cheese, not just bland balls of nothing like so many others.

The fior di latte was presented with eye-catching hues of red and yellow tomatoes, green basil leaves and purple beetroot. This modern play on an insalata caprese was really just a delightful plate of produce.

With this entree style dish we were served a very, very fruity Heidler Gruner Veltliner 'Thal' from Austria, which would suit those who like a lots of fruity sugars in their wine.

Bruschetta of lamb ragu and chickpeas
The bruschetta toppings change weekly, with some of our waiter’s favourites being chicken liver pate or Sicilian sardines, straight from the tin, with tomatoes.

This night’s treat on thick toasted bread was a wintery lamb ragu – appropriate for the cool change to autumn – with a chickpea puree, whole chickpeas and coriander from the kitchen’s herb garden. This was like no other bruschetta I've tried before, and I like the new take.

Maltagliati with osso bucco, gremolata
The smell of the osso bucco pasta dish was unbearably good and consisted of exactly what I want when I crave pasta: a rich tomato sauce, gorgeously al dente pasta in novel, rough-cut sheet pasta in something resembling squares.

I loved the transformation of a traditional ossu bucco - with gremolata, of course - into a pasta dish, with the bone marrow mixed through for added richness.

At this point, the wine in the glass was a full-bodied, fruity Italian red Torre Vento 'Salice Salentino', which was perfect to cut through the rich pasta sauce.

Sfoglia verdure
The sfoglia isn’t pastry as the Italian translation would imply, but more like a very open lasagne with several sheets of pasta filled with fried garden vegetables: tomato, capsicum, baby corn, broccoli, baby carrots, zucchini and heavily spiced slices of eggplant.

Topped with chopped parsley also straight from the kitchen garden, the goat’s cheese sauce was a necessary addition of richness to the vegetarian dish. It was hard to compete with the osso bucco maltagliati though.

We dabbled back into Italian white territory at this point with the Bera Arcese, which is a blend that has the slightest of bubbles to its very easy-drinking nature.

Black angus sirloin, rocket, potatoes
The main, as if all the other dishes weren't fantastic menu features already, was a grain-fed black angus sirloin from Kingaroy, Queensland, cooked medium-rare and boasting a sensationally flavoured-crust full of salt and charred goodness.

The crisp chunks of potato and lightly dressed rocket leaves with parmesan shavings were really all that were needed alongside the tagliata style cut of beef.

We skipped back to red wines with my favourite of the night: Sami Odi 'Little Wine' Shiraz which was the big flavour you'd want from a Barossa shiraz paired with a sirloin steak. There are only 120 cases of this small batch production available in Australia, and 10 William Street had 12 cases when I was there earlier this month.

In pre dessert fashion, the kitchen sent out spoonfuls of the tiramisu “Fratelli”. The immediate hit of good coffee soaked into the sponge makes this immediately likeable, with smooth, velvety mascarpone wrapped all around.

Sweet of the day – caramel and fig cake with vanilla ice cream and pistachios and caramel
I wasn’t too sure what to expect of a caramel cake, but it was essentially that – a slice of a dense caramel-flavoured cake dotted with segments of dried figs.

Topped with more caramel sauce, a quenelle of vanilla ice cream and crumbled pistachio nuts, it was a simple, well-balanced, almost homely dessert that hit all the right spots.

The heavy Mas Amiel aged grenache from south-west France had plenty enough saccharine characteristics to take on caramel sauce - which says a lot.

10 William Street frontage
I'm not sure if most people go through that much food and six different wines in a sitting at 10 William Street. But there is so much to like about the place: the quiet street off a main road, a menu of impressively high standards to match a huge variety of wines on pour (and by the bottle), and a relaxed atmosphere to really enjoy the wine, company and wine bar atmosphere.

I can't wait to return for a Saturday session with the girls - perhaps post a spot of shopping in Paddington - but 10 William Street has definitely got it going on, even if the rest of the suburb has some catching up to do.

Food, booze and shoes dined at 10 William Street as a guest, with thanks to Maria Farmer Public Relations.

10 William Street on Urbanspoon


chocolatesuze said...

argh i have been thinking about osso bucco for a while now and need to grab me a plate stat!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I remember that article about Paddington and yes you can't help but notice the for lease signs. It used to be the place to shop! Hopefully places like this will revive it.

joey@FoodiePop said...

Black angus loin looks divine, and I love seeing crunchy arancini balls popping up all over Sydney.

Jasmin said...

The for lease signs are a bit worrying. Similar things have always happened on King Street, but it's certainly happening more and more.
I used to just be happy that there was another new restaurant to try, but it's hard to not think about the people who's dreams these were, giving them up.

That being said, I am very excited by the look of those pasta dishes. The Osso Bucco looks incredible.

Thanks for the heads up, I think we might have missed this place without hearing about it.

MissPiggy said...

I hope Paddington gets its MOJO's such a lovely area and wandering along Oxford Street looking at the shops was always a favourite thing of mine to do "back in the day".

gaby @ lateraleating said...

That's a very generous serving of olives. And the fior di latte in the salad, too. Great to see they don't skimp on ingredients, like other places.

julie said...

That osso bucco looks and sounds heavenly!

SO sad about all those restaurants :(

Tina said...

Hi suze - This was classic osso bucco at its best! So so so good!

Hi Lorraine - Yeah, hopefully the hospitality industry can lead the charge in bringing the retail area back to life..!

Hi joey - It's so hard not to order arancini if they're on the menu :)

Hi Jasmin - Indeed, it's not just another shopfront but someone's livelihood. This place really is great.

Hi MissPiggy - Me too, though I'm not so much of a shopaholic as I used to be (oops, I'm part of the problem in retail!)

Hi gaby - Beautiful produce in beautiful, generous Italian serves!

Hi julie - It's been happening for a while in the retail space, but now the restaurants are getting hit. And yet, a new opening every week somewhere in Sydney...

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Those are massive squares/strips of pasta, but I do like the fresh look of the open/messy lasagne.


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