The wine bar 10 William Street is the kind of place that looks like chefs from other restaurants come to hang out.
In fact, when I was there during my Australian vacation, what looked like chef friends sauntered up to the bar and was warmly greeted by Chef Daniel Pepperell. From the tiny bar on William right off Oxford Street in the upscale Paddington neighborhood, Pepperell has been generating buzz among foodies for his small plates that use fresh, unusual ingredients in a simple, Italian/Mediterranean style.
Pepperell, who has worked at places such as Attica in Melbourne and Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York, creates a limited menu to match the eclectic collection of wine.
After I ordered a glass of Australian chardonnay, I started with a crudo of scallop, lardo and mangosteen (AUS $22 or $20.50). I hardly find fresh mangosteen back in the States, but it’s probably easy to find in Australia, with its close proximity to Southeast Asia. The mangosteen provided a nice sweetness that matched the sweetness of the scallop, although I thought the finishing sprinkle of poppyseed was a bit too much.
The fresh pasta dishes were on the pricey side, but I had to try the special fettuccine (AUS$25 or $23.30) when I heard it was made with sea urchin butter. The pasta was perfectly cooked with the right texture, and the creamy butter held everything together. But unfortunately the delicate taste of the sea urchin was overpowered by the saltiness of the smoked Spanish ink-colored salmon roe, which I’m sure was added for a dramatic pop of black against the pasta.
My notes above are really just minor quibbles to what were both elegantly presented plates.
Dessert of tiramisu (AUS$10 or $9.30) was the right balance of coffee flavor and delicate cream, looking like a rustic scoop from a traditional Italian kitchen. Nothing creative but why play with what works when the preparations are followed so carefully?
The Last Bite
Chef Pepperell’s previous experience are reflected in his refined dishes at 10 William Street, but the small plates and high price make this an expensive spot for a pre-dinner meal. Still, you can’t deny Pepperell is doing something special and it’s worth stopping in at least once to experience it for yourself.
Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
10 William Street, Sydney, Australia. PH: +61(02) 9360-3310. Open Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday to Saturday, midday to midnight. No reservations. Major credit cards accepted. 10williamst.com.au
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