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10 William St

This lively Paddington stalwart is a portal into some of the best wine, pasta and snacks this city has to offer.
By Erina Starkey
April 02, 2019
By Erina Starkey
April 02, 2019

Filled to the brim with lively drinkers and diners, 10 William St seems more like a brand-new opening than an 11-year-old establishment.

Since 2011, the Italian eatery and wine bar has been a launching pad for some of the country's best chefs, with an honour roll that includes Dan Pepperell (who you'll now find at Bistrot 916, formerly at Restaurant Hubert) to Garagistes founder Luke Burgess, Pinbone's Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman (now at Totti's and Lankan Filling Station, respectively), Trisha Greentree from Brae in Victoria and the recently departed Enrico Tomelleri, who's about to launch his own venture.

The good-looking Italian venue, an old converted shopfront just a few strides down from Oxford Street, has aged gracefully, from the walnut leather banquettes to its green laminate bar rimmed with golden rails. Don't fit downstairs? Don't be surprised, the front room is about as big as a hallway but there's a whole other level of dining upstairs.

If you come to 10 William St, it's pretty safe to assume you're drinking. The wine list is chalked up on the blackboard and changes each month, but if you don't know your palomino from your passerina, just ask the wait staff for a recommendation — we're all friends here. Look around and you'll see most people have gone for an apricot drop, a muscat and chenin blanc blend packed with lemon sherbet and fuzzy melon, or the hay-coloured Venetian Soave imbued with green apples and gooseberries.

A short menu of small plates could easily be mistaken for wine snacks, but really they deserve a lot more credit than that. Start with the focaccia($6), then follow up with a prezel topped with whipped bottarga ($18) or a combo of polenta and Italian sausage ($26).

A glass of sangiovese demands to be accompanied with pasta and we're happy to comply. Choose from a chitarra ($38) — accompanied by a healthy helping of spanner crab — or the beef and cavolo nero pappardelle ($37). You'll finish with a saucy grin and a stain on your shirt to remind you of good times.

10 William St might have the energy of a newcomer, but flair and finesse like this is something that only comes with age.

Images: Kitti Gould.

Updated Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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