Sommelier Stuart Knox got his start in the wine game after begging to be promoted from waiter to Sommelier at London institution Bibendum, Terence Conran’s first restaurant. Three years later, and the young Knox had quite the education after handling the 1500-bin wine list (compiled by Matthew Jukes at the time) and a discerning clientele…
10 William St
An offshoot of Potts Point’s much-loved Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William St shed the skin of modern Australian–Italian dining, with a push away from fried calamari with rocket et al, and delved into a new form of Italian experimentation. Respectful and subtle experimentation, that is. And while Fratelli Paradiso has long stuck to a wine list that shuns the commercial and the overworked, 10 William St has gone somewhat further down the minimal intervention and natural road.
That hopelessly general term, ‘Italian cuisine’, is no guiding principle here – the sensibility is essentially Italian, but the interpretation is individual – with the chef of the moment working inside this Italian-inspired ethos but doing so in a way that is entirely reflective of their own style. That’s an important factor. While Fratelli Paradiso has never been a chef’s restaurant, one that relies on the reputation of the practitioner on the pans, 10 William St has retained its distinct identity while also framing some of this country’s finest cooking talents.
Dan Pepperell (now of Restaurant Hubert and Alberto’s Lounge) launched the kitchen with his tangential slant on the classics, while Trisha Greentree, a Brae alumnus, has applied her own gloss of late. These personal changes have resulted in compellingly different menus (though Pepperell’s pretzel and whipped bottarga is a stayer) at 10 William St, while retaining an essential continuity, which is testament the deep connections and passion of the brothers Paradiso.
The list, which stretches to over 300 listings, with 16 by the glass, plus specials (they like their chalk here, too) is at its heart dynamic, fluid (pardon the pun). Given the hand-crafted nature of most of the bottlings, scarcity is a given and the list is in a constant state of exciting flux: “Wines of place, wines with personality, energy and charisma, digestible drinks that make you feel good. We have always worked with wines made naturally, farmed in harmony with nature and made by farmers and artisans, many of which are our friends. This philosophy extends through to the produce used in our kitchens; farmed with the up-most respect for nature, and cooking that lets the inherent flavour of the ingredient be the message. For us, these two elements go hand in hand.”