Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Provini, Canberra.
Spaghetti carbonara. Your faithful correspondent made a close study of it in Rome not too long ago, and concluded that the better-regarded Roman places cook their spaghetti (or, just as frequently, rigatoni) on the crunchy side of al dente, cut their guanciale into thick batons, and bomb the plate with enough pecorino and black pepper that the result is mighty forceful, salty and pungent. Extra yolks in the mix are a given; cream doesn't enter the conversation. A straight carbonara is strangely hard to find in Australia, so the appearance of the dish on the menu at Provini, a new restaurant on the old La Scala site, is all the more cheering. The version here could definitely use a bit more grunt (and for $24 it oughta be pretty close to perfect), but bookended by Jamsheed chardonnay by the glass and a nicely bitter salad of radicchio and endives, it's an appealingly grown-up snack. The refitted rooms are warm and buzzy, and with an 'nduja and potato pizza, a straight chicken cacciatore with fregola, and Occhipinti red all on offer, there's plenty of reason to make a return visit.
Provini, 50 Bunda St, Canberra, ACT, (02) 6154 9720
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