With a to eat list expanding faster than my wallet can keep up with, it’s rare to find a place you love enough to revisit so soon but barely a couple of months had passed and here I was standing outside 10 William Street and feeling pretty excited.
As the rule of thumb goes if you have a hard time finding it, it’s probably going to serve up some amazing dosh. The exterior of this Fratelli Paradiso sibling is fairly spartan: a glass front with an open door luring you into the narrow wine bar within. The interior is fitted with a leather sitter which runs the perimeter of the front room, small green and white cafe tables provide a good rest for tired elbows whilst a collection of Thonet bentwood chairs and stools compliment the understated cream paneling.
Aperol Spritz $15
Our waiter revisits us a few times but noticing our alarmed eyes (a wine list which comes in a binder should freak out any casual wine drinker) he suggested we start off with “what everyone in Milan is drinking poolside this summer”. Moments later we were sipping away at a couple of Aperol Spritzes, made none too sweet, balanced out with the slight bitterness from a sliver of lemon and cradling a stirrer speared with two large green olives.
The olives were beautifully firm with a long drawn out taste that lingered on your tongue, so good in fact we had to order a whole bowl. Moments later our last member wanders in and settles down with a Spritz in hand. We eagerly signal that it’s time for the show to begin!
Seared tuna, sweet corn, leek $19
First to arrive is the tuna, decorated with the dark smokey cross hatch of the grill and resting on a bed of pureed sweet corn. A drizzle of olive of olive oil, a small bush of micro herbs, a line of balsamic and topped off with fried strings of leek: it was delectable and now I could see why this sold out the last time I was here.
Sopressa panzerotti (Cured pork neck with fried bread) $17
I had no idea what to expect with the special as all I heard was “pork neck” and “fried bread”; somehow I imagined a dish of roasted springy neck meat paired with a slightly oily loaf (don’t ask why). Instead what came out was a fanned out mat of cured pork neck shavings and a pile of light crunchy pillows of ‘bread’. We were instructed to wrap the shavings around the bread before popping them in our mouths, it was divine! We started pondering how these Italians turn the humble pairing of meat and bread into something so sophisticated and delicious.
After finally settling on a bottle of ‘textural’ French white (the lovely waiter left us the bottle for a moment so I could photograph it – so nice *sniff*) it was time to move onto the main attraction.
Pasta al forno $21
A simple dish of rigatoni swathed in the aroma of four cheeses: the different textures and contrast of savoury with sour (possibly from the Pecorino and Mascarpone) was cleaned up in minutes.
Angus sirloin, potato, rocket $24
The steak was simple but well executed, it arrived already divvied up with a small side of rocket and roast potato.
Maccheroni braised oxtail ragu $21
The dishes here are on the small side and we felt there was still room for more so we added an old favourite: the pasta with oxtail ragu. Spearing the maccheroni onto our forks we gobbled down the last of the al dente pasta and rich sauce before guiltily realising we overdid it a little. Sensing the stretch of our belts, the general consensus was to stand firm in the face of temptation. This means no dessert tonight.
Our waiter stops by and asks if we’ll be having dessert, he senses another flash of indecision and starts monologuing about the wonders of tiramisu and how after starting work here he ate one every night and gained three kilos. “The only tiramisu better than this is one” he declared, “I had at a friend’s house, they were first generation Italians and theirs was drenched in Marsala it was the best thing on earth”.
Tiramisu ‘Fratelli’ $7 & Moscato di Trani Rivera 08 Pugua $12
After such high praise and drool inducing talk we crumbled like the feeble-willed eaters we were and ordered the Tiramisu with a glass of Moscato. I momentarily slipped away to the Narnia-esque bathroom and came back to discover the dessert had arrived but some eager eaters couldn’t resist “sampling” the cream layer. Fratelli’s version was much wetter than most, with a generous layer of coffee infused cream & mascarpone on top to ensure each spoonful was as fattening (i.e. delectable) as the first.
It was amusing watching everyone’s euphoric reactions over the Tiramisu, they were so impressed it was only adequate we facebooked the news as fast as possible. Spread the word folks but maybe just amongst your besties, after all we’d like a spot at the table too.
It’s been a year since the brothers Paradiso have opened this little wine bar and 10 William Street has lost none of its charm. A varied and dense wine list coupled with the daily chalkboard menu based on using the freshest produce delivers a winning combination not enough Sydney-siders have cottoned on to. Don’t come with a full stomach and make sure you leave room for the tiramisu. My only word of warning is keep an eye on the bill, it adds up fast or you can just turn away and close your eyes to savour another sip. No one will blame you.
10 William Street
a. 10 William Street Paddington
t. 9360 3310