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Canberra Today 16°/20° | Thursday, January 20, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Casual, but very, very serious about food

Goodbye takeaway, dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON returns to the table for a visit to Pronto in Queanbeyan. 

WE were indulging in a lovely lunch at the relatively new Pronto in Queanbeyan when we heard the news. The ACT was going into lockdown later in the day.

Wendy Johnson.

Now, all these weeks later, I can review that lovely lunch because lockdown is easing and dining out is once more on the menu. 

Pronto is a casual place to dine but don’t be fooled. The kitchen takes its food very, very seriously. It’s a smallish restaurant but already a major attraction on the main drag in Queanbeyan. It’s the sister restaurant to the popular Trecento in Manuka and the carefully thought out menu makes choosing a challenge. Booking is a very good idea.

The carpaccio was food art on a plate. The meat was sliced so thin you could see through it (that’s how we love it) and this small plate was a perfect start to our leisurely lunch. The dish featured loads of colour, including radicchio rocket and finely shaved cheese and a swirl of balsamic. It was a winning combo of flavours. 

Our Burrata was just as sensational. I confess it’s one of the nicest I’ve had and a generous serve for $12. We devoured the marinated mussels ($16), which were plump and juicy and perked up even more with generous squirts of fresh lemon. Small plates at Pronto include other cheeses, cured meats, hot dishes, raw dishes, veggies, insalata and gorgeous breads.

One of our party is passionate about pizza and particularly fond of Calabrese ($23). Pronto’s take on this famous style didn’t disappoint. The crust was beautifully thin, and the pizza arrived with the perfect amount and mix of quality ingredients – tomato, fior di latte, cacciatore, olives, red pepper, chilli and fresh basil. In addition to the nine pizza rosso, Pronto offers six pizza bianca, so there’s something to tantalise all tastebuds.

The gnocchi Della Terra knocked it out of the park – fluffy soft pillows mixed with chunks of mushrooms, earthy pine nuts, peppery rocket, garlic (no surprise here), a lovely kick of chilli and sexy burnt butter sauce ($26). There’s nothing worse than a gluggy, stodgy gnocchi. This was the complete opposite. A champion of a dish.

The linguine gamberi ($27) was a simple dish that celebrated top ingredients. The king prawns were super tasty and happily married to ripe cherry tomato, garlic onion and silky EVO oil. 

We love a simple but tasty salad… not the kitchen-sink variety, but those created with a few carefully selected ingredients. Pronto’s Ruculo salad ($12) fit the bill.

With lunch we enjoyed the Ca’ Erto Soave 2020 from Veneto, Italy, a pale yellow, delightfully crisp and wonderfully dry wine ($55 bottle and $11 by the glass).

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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