I don’t know how many times I’ve walked past 10 William Street, which is run by the kids behind Fratelli Paradiso. I’ve seen it in various stages. From being stuffed with immensely popular trendy types squashed tight up against the glass, to casual yet cool daytime drinkers, and then like last night – comfortable and unpretentious. Which is EXACTLY what I was craving!
We arrived quite late on a Wednesday night, a damp one as seems to be the norm at the moment. The downstairs bar and eating area are full except for two little tables. A friendly waiter scoots us over to the wall opposite the bar, which is great as I get to watch everything going on.
The music switches from jazzy to cool, to something else but it’s all laid back and smooth. Easy drinking music – how’s that? It suits the atmosphere which is relaxed, the crowd an eclectic mix of 2s, 3s, girl’s nights, after work suits, dates (at least two that I noticed) and then later on a group of male wine aficionados who clamber up to the bar and burry their noses in glass after glass of expensive looking wine.
By the time we get there I am exhausted and starving, having raced around like a mad woman all day, so it’s just as well the waiter is attentive and knows his stuff. In no time at all we have ordered the Olives ($6), the Panino Capocollo ($18), the Pasta al Forno ($21) and a bottle of Belotti Rosso 2010 ($48) which has no sulphur and is what the waiter describes as “The Joker”. The wine is bouncy. At times it’s fruity, other times spicy, sometimes it’s a tad sharp but by the end of the night when we’re sharing our Poached Pear & Fontina (cheese) ($9) it’s settled down and is delicious. (I think sulphur free wines are supported here, given the ‘the struggle continues’ graphic on the business card.)
Whilst we wait for our food, which is relatively prompt, we ogle the interiors. White crisp walls have ‘squiggles’ in an attempt for coolness. Personally I prefer no squiggles – or lots and lots – with no white in between. Here, it just feels a little try-hardish. But hey, the rest of the place is lovely and this is really the only flaw I can find. Timber battens on the ceiling painted white downstairs, but left exposed upstairs. There are chalk boards for the menu and cute little exposed light-bulbs suspended from the ceiling. The floor looks newish – pale timber parquet floors downstairs that sit nicely against the dark timber and brass edged bar. All seats are timber bentwood or padded bench style and the tables are tiny – definitely keep your wings pinned back whilst eating here!
Wine racks adorn pretty much every wall. Perhaps this is because of the very extensive wine list they offer? It comes in a small hardcover folder and is broken into sections of Italian, French and Other Notables for most of the wine varieties – which makes sense as the food is mostly Italian-style tapas. I think the cheapest wine I noted was around the $37ish? But they certainly extend way beyond that and I would have to say most would probably be sitting on the $60-$80 a bottle – at a glance.
Coffee seems to be pretty important here at 10 William Street. They have spelt out that they use Single Origin Coffee from Brazil – Espresso ONLY!!! No mucking about with fluffy cappuccinos, lattes or – God Forbid!! SOY!!! Nope, they only serve the true essence here. Which is a bit of a bummer, because I’m a soy drinker myself.
Loos are upstairs and hidden behind a dark timber facade. Inside they are clean and gleaming white with beautifully smelling Aesop soap and a stunning bunch of bright purple flowers.
Another thing I love about 10 William Street is the fabric napkins! Adds a bit of class don’t you think? Beautiful, crisp and stunningly white. I tell you, it’s the small things that count! I might even drag Mum here next time she’s in town, perhaps even she’ll forgive the squiggles on the wall, at the sight of those crisp little napkins.
LOVIN’: The D-Licious food!! Will be making this a regular.
NOT LOVIN’: Squiggles on the walls.
NOISE: Low hum.
BRING: Your girlfriends, man-friends, a date at any stage, so long as you’re in a small group.
HOW MUCH: $$$$$ - depending on what wine you order.
WHEN: 5pm – Late Mon – Thurs
12pm – Late Fri – Sun
CONTACT: (02) 9360 3310 (no website?)
PS – If you want to see some absolutely STUNNING food photography head to Food in Hand.