SYDNEY
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.

Light Meal
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.

As a wine bar, 10 William Street lives up to its billing with an eclectic wine list written on the wall

As a wine bar, 10 William Street lives up to its billing with an eclectic wine list written on the wall

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

3-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

10 William Street on Urbanspoon

Raw scallop with mangosteen, lardo, rosemary salt and poppyseed (AUS$22 or $20.50)

Raw scallop with mangosteen, lardo, rosemary salt and poppyseed (AUS$22 or $20.50)

The tiny downstairs bar

The tiny downstairs bar where patrons order glasses or wine and one or two plates

Daily special of fettuccine with sea urchin butter (AUS$25 or $23.30) and Spanish ink-colored smoked salmon roe
Daily special of fettuccine with sea urchin butter (AUS$25 or $23.30) and Spanish ink-colored smoked salmon roe

Tiramisu (AUS$10 or $9.30)

Tiramisu (AUS$10 or $9.30)

Not sure what this sign meant at the door because the beam of the doorway wasn't necessarily low. Maybe Australians are just unusually tall?

Not sure what this sign meant at the door because the beam of the doorway wasn’t necessarily low. Maybe Australians are just unusually tall?

 

 

4 Responses to A Review of 10 William Street in Sydney, Australia

  1. Row says:

    Those dishes look spot-on (especially the fettuccine), but I keep cringing whenever I see the prices. In general, what’s your take on the pricing point for Australian dining? Maybe I’m just becoming too grinchy. 🙁

    • Ben Ben says:

      You know, while I was in Australia I really felt things were expensive, but then when I got home and think about it, I realize it’s comparable to San Francisco because 1) the exchange rate is fairly close to the dollar, 2) tax is already added in the price while in California the nearly 10 percent tax really increases the final bill and 3) they don’t tip in Australia while another 20 percent goes to the final bill here. So in reality, even though the prices might seem 30 percent higher than back home, we pay 30 percent more because of the taxes and tipping. So I think it evens out. In a way, I probably saved money and ate better in Australia for the price. LOL

      • Row says:

        Excellent points. I didn’t know about the taxes and tipping in Australia. Thanks for the education, Ben! 🙂

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    Agreed with you on the price points in Australia. They do seem high at first, but the cost of living in the big cities there is on par with what it is in the Bay Area. Australia is not a cheap place to live or visit, so the prices reflect that. Of course, I would have definitely splurged on any pasta described with “urchin butter.” 😉