Extended Birthdays, Date Night, Wine Bars and Italian Food are things we hold dear to our hearts here at the Empty Fridge. We have been wanting to try this "mysterious" new establishment in Paddington since it opened, walking past it everyday as I go to and from work. From the day it opened its doors - the number of patrons just kept growing. I remember distinctly walking past on the first day of trade, looking at the front window and thinking "Has anyone actually noticed that a pigeon is just casually sitting on the pane?" No need to contact the Department of Food Safety and Sanitation, the Pigeon is stuffed.
Once seated, we knew we were in for quite a treat. The downstairs bar area is always crowded, so we head to the second level which is still empty at 5.35 pm on a Friday. We were here quite early, don't judge - you have to be as it gets packed in no time, and secondly - lucky Gianna, works just a few doors down. We decided to come here before we were to kick off Demos' birthday drinks at the Beresford in Surry Hills, trying to get as much to eat before the boozing was to begin. This was a good idea - it ended up being one boozy night.
Does the writing on the board look familiar? It should, 10 William St is run by the same brains as the Fratelli PARADISO (corrected, not the other fratelli ) group so we were definitely in great company. There is no drinks menu provided - all the bottles available are written on 2 blackboards giving new meaning to the term "The Writings on the Wall". There is a whole board for bottles of red, white and a selection of wines by the glass. There is an impressive list of local and imported varieties with bottles ranging from a $49 bottle of Langhe Bianco 08 Piemont to a $210 bottle of Chassange Mont Marc Morey 07 Burg.
The wines available by the glass change on a weekly basis - the waitress tells us that this is so that their regular customers are encouraged to come back and try something different each time. I started our night with a glass of Rose - summer nights are getting warmer and longer and this is a perfect prelude to the celebrations ahead. I love rose; it's fruity, light and so easy to drink.
Demos had a glass of the Pian del Ciampolo Montevertine from Tuscany $16 which he seemed to enjoy. Can't go wrong with an Italian red so he says. So far this holds true, maybe we've been lucky. So sipping away on our wines, our lovely waitress totted on over and gave us a rundown of what would be nice to pick on.
We decided on getting some olives & bread to start. The treccia olive $9 is served with homemade foccacia, marinated olives and buffalo mozarella.
Not wanting to go way overboard with food we took it back a notch from our usual pace and decided we would share the ricotta cannelloni with mushroom and truffles $20. This was spectacularly good and just managed to tick all the right boxes. Hot gooey cheese and truffles packaged in perfectly cooked pasta. Wondrous.
I love how the canelonni pasta tube is green - I didnt get a chance to ask if it was home made. I am almost sure it was freshly made with wilted spinach, blended and then added to the dough. Well that is what google told me :)
No doubt Demos and I fought for every serve - we would have been happy to order another one!
One thing that was absolutely fantastic was the service. Our waitress was so helpful and attentive and just made ordering wine and food so much easier. She took the time out to explain the menu and the wines on offer and gave her suggestions as to what we should try. We also were able to stand around in the small balcony overlooking Willlam and Elizabeth St
The next round of drinks was the Blaufrankisch Gesellmann Burgenland from Austria ($15) and a glass of the Cotes du Rhone Gramenon from Rhone Valley. The Cotes du Rhone wine is bio-dynamically grown and very earthy and herby - I actually ordered this for myself but swapped glasses with Demos as I much preferred the lightness of the Blaufrankish.
Yep, this is the tiny balcony - and that above is the street where I my office is :)
So lucky to be so close to this gem - hmm, I wonder if this makes me a "local". I think this small bar is a great alternative from the other pubs in the area - Paddington Inn is across the road but sometimes it might just be too rowdy. And although I love a good pizza from the London as well, or a steak from Paddo Inn or The Grand National - I think 10 William is a great addition to the 'hood.
We explain to our waitress the we have a big night ahead and think that we should adequately "line" our stomachs - she brings back the menu and suggest we try these two small dishes.
Suppi al telfono $6 is like an arancini ball - gooey on the inside with that crunchy golden coating outside. The rice ball has rice, a light meat sauce and some stringy melted stracciatella. Absolutely filling and delicious.
The Torta Salata $6 - is a slice of spinach and anchovy tart with a biscuit like crust. The anchovy flavour is very strong - so I would recommend this only if you enjoy the fishy taste.
The decor is very simple and casual - but everywhere you look there is an interesting touch. The high ceilings are utilised for storage, and although it is not the most spacious of places, the afternoon light fills the room beautifully.As the sun sets, the locals start arriving - kicking off their weekend. Our waitress is rushed off her feet but her attentiveness never falters.
She brings us out some Birthday Chocolate and Cherry and a Pistachio lemon canolli to end the meal - what a lovely surprise! This has to be one of the best variations I have tried - fresh and fluffy ricotta inside and the fresh ingredients adding a treat on each end.
And for The Empty Fridge scorecard:
- The Peak - Our super friendly waitress was full of knowledge - she provided such wonderful service!
- The Pitt - The wines are pricey, but they are unique varieties that are not readily available in other pubs or restaurants - including several bio-dynamic and organic wines
- Empty Fridge Dish of the Day - It's a tie between the cannelloni and cannoli - both get a 10/10 in our books as we are still craving a fix.
As the night went on, our lovely friends meet us at The Beresford in Surry Hills for a birthday beverage or 10 - and somehow, we ended up at The Winery - classily ordering Burbon and Cokes.
10 William Street - Bar Paddington, 2021 (02) 9360 3301
Open for lunch and until late.