It looks enticing and perfectly at home, if you notice it at all. Nestled amongst the little artisan shops and the tiny terraces of William Street, Paddington, this is a bar sans gimmickry. Cementing that sense of anonymity, its name is its address – 10 William Street is a kind of bar incognito.
Once you set foot inside, however, its famous heritage becomes perfectly clear. The boxy blackboard script of the wall menu, the dark interior, the bar in the distance, the accented waiters all clearly point to its big brother in Potts Point. The Paradiso bothers, Enrico and Giovanni – and their partner Marco Ambrosino – have done it again. Their first venture, Fratelli Paradiso, has just turned 10 years old, so it seems appropriate to now be creating something new.
At 10 William Street, the Italian wine and antipasti trend of the last few years has been interpreted perfectly for Sydney. It’s not a restaurant, not a wine bar, but somewhere in between, which makes perfect sense for the way we live now. Remarkably knowledgeable staff lead you through the various wines by the glass, and having taken a few sips and settled into the vibe, perhaps a plate of fresh, plump, lightly fried whitebait would be nice to nibble on? Served on a stiff paper card with a pile of chunky salt and pepper for dipping, it makes a perfect appetite starter.
So we follow with some seared tuna chunks with a horseradish mayonnaise. Perhaps another glass of wine? Suddenly, before you know it, the bar has turned into a restaurant as you bite into sweet Bresaola from Lombardy and wander through the mains chalked onto the blackboard. Dishes include fried calamari, a long-time favourite at Fratelli Paradiso and pasta with oxtail ragout and prawn tagliatelle.
It’s about balance – good wine, small, perfectly prepared dishes and great company in this tiny bistro.