William Blue Dining
I stumbled upon tales of William Blue Dining during a protracted rabbit-hole Googling on where I might eat during my stay in Sydney. The ease of access of colossally impressive fine dining in Australia has set my wallet alight in ways I hadn’t entirely expected so I was keen to sample something towards the middle market.
William Blue is a training restaurant where hospitality students get to put some of the theory they’re leaning in class into practice with real live customers like me. The trade off is that it’s very reasonably priced particularly given its location in the heart of The Rocks, next to Circular Quay.
I’d first like to offer a few hopefully constructive but nevertheless negative comments. The place feels like a conference centre rather than a restaurant. It has a partly open kitchen, with an eye-level view of the cooks at work, but has little in the way of useful places for the many front of house people to stand in anything other than an awkward way.
Secondly plating the very good rock oysters I started with on a heavy black slate seemed rather mean. It made things heavy to deliver to the table and awkward to pick up and put down once there.
These were issues for the instructors to consider. I think a walkthrough of the restaurant in operation to assess strengths and weaknesses of the current set-up might be an interesting design exercise for the students.
These gripes aside, the rest of my experience was overwhelmingly positive.
As I’ve said, I started with very good oysters, then followed with a white onion tart with charred pickled onion and aged cheddar. This was accomplished stuff with a suitably crisp base topped with high quality elements that came together for satisfying forkfuls.
For main, I’d opted for the spatchcock chicken roulade served with brown mushrooms, Lyonnaise potatoes and pickled baby veg. The chicken was moist with a light truffle note and the accompaniments worked well. It was hearty but had considerable elegance.
That was all I needed to eat despite a tempting list of desserts. I said my thank yous, paid my bill and was off into the afternoon sun to explore more of the city.
William Blue Dining is a very good place to know about. It served me a high quality meal and made me feel like I’d done something reasonably useful in being the audience for trainees. I’d recommend it to you next time you’re in town. It’s a hot ticket, so booking is essential.
Blythe scores William Blue Dining
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 15/20
I ate: rock oysters, white onion tart, spatchcock
I drank: sparkly wine, water
I wore: all orange
Total bill: $64.50
Address: 107-109 George Street, The Rocks, NSW 2000