Wine is stored everywhere in this narrow Paddington terrace – on walls, under banquettes, and above on exposed wooden beams.
Having a 209-strong wine list in a tiny wine bar/restaurant might have disadvantages, but as a leather-apron clad cutie leans over me apologizing because “the wines are not in any order”, I’m not feeling them.
Besides, the chalkboard by-the-glass list is so interesting, you could get drunk before you got bored!
Forgive me for initially thinking that Dan Pepperell’s food was simply a platform for allowing wine to shine.
By way of explanation: I was knee deep in De Moor Bourgogne Chitry 2011 ($15/glass), chuckling over waiter Owen Kemp’s "rip, tear, scrape" description of how to eat the buffalo Mozzarella ($21).
Pepperell’s food is actually very clever. Clams XO Italiano ($25) sees XO sauce Shanghaied and sailed to Sicily. It’s smartly adult and bold, without any sacrificing any briny, clammy goodness, and it goes gangbusters with the pretty (pink) 2010 Pinot Grigio Paraschos ($15/glass).
Citrus-cured Crudo di Bonito ($17) with sour cream and finger lime is about the best use of bonito I’ve seen.
Portion sizes suit the mostly Paddo crowd, with laughs provided by adaptable waiters translating Italian - Short Rib Gorgonzola Panino ($18) - into yuppie: “NY style blue cheese slider”.
PS: Apologies for my truly awful photos (it was incredibly dark). They don't do the food justice!
PPS. Wine of the night was the Shiraz 'Little Wine #2' Sami-Odi MV Barossa ($13/glass) made by exciting young winemaker Fraser McKinley (Dan Standish's assistant winemaker). Both of these exciting young winemakers trained at Torbrek. This wild beauty is made on the same grapes used in Grange and Hill of Grace. Sadly I couldn't squeeze all of this into my review!
10 William Street
10 William Street, Paddington
Ph: (02) 9360 3310