Dining / Space is really out there

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THERE wasn’t a lot of space at Space when I arrived, but it was a Saturday morning and the word is out that this is one hot eatery.

Wendy Johnson.
Wendy Johnson.
It didn’t matter that the place was pumping. I was greeted with a smile on entering and quickly seated.

Space is massive and if you love Ricardo’s in Jamison, you’ll be passionate about this new dining adventure in Woden. Rick De Marco is behind both and I watched him being hands-on the day I visited.

The overall space is divided into a large, open-concept kitchen area with no fewer than five staff zipping here, there and everywhere, whipping up dishes with lightning speed. You can sit at the “kitchen counter” and watch the goings on, which I reckon would be a blast.

The second serving zone is the coffee and sweets area and there were four staff working it on my visit.

This is where the delectable desserts guaranteed to make you drool are displayed. Peanut butter dome perhaps? Strawberry cheesecake, with blueberry brulée, pistachio sponge and raspberry jelly? A peppermint mousse with chocolate sponge, chocolate mousse, vanilla bean cream and mint jelly? Trust me, deciding is impossible.

Lunch was being served, but so too was an all-day breakfast and I was delighted to discover new and refreshing items on offer. Not “same, same” breakfast fare, so congrats to Space for being innovative (lots of gluten-free options).

I was super keen on the zucchini and haloumi fritters with poached eggs, feta, harissa yoghurt, beetroot hummus and corn couscous ($18.90). Sadly, Space had already run out even though it wasn’t noon and the dish was part of the “all-day” breakfast. I opted for the smoked salmon.

The salmon is smoked on site and was subtle and moist. The dish was a feast for the eyes and I quickly lost my sense of disappointment at having to make the switch ($18.90).

The salmon came with smashed avocado, a delightful coconut rosti, poached eggs (slightly underdone), with puffed grains, dukkah and a lime coconut dressing. See what I mean about dishes that don’t make you yawn?

I wouldn’t hesitate to return for the boysenberry hotcakes with blood-orange curd and other goodies ($17.90). Or the benedict, made with pulled pork, beetroot hollandaise, port crackling brioche crumble and pea purée.

The coffee was great; the staff efficient and the fit-out was industrial chic with road and directional signage forming part of the décor.

The question we often ask of places that have just opened is whether they will survive the burst of activity around being “new”, given how much Canberrans lurve to flock to places that have just opened. My bet is that Space is here to stay.

Space, Skypark, corner of Furzer and Worgan Streets, Woden. Breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday and later on Fridays. Call 6281 6668.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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