13 May 2022

Five minutes with Nic Nocera, 3rd Space Canberra

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Nic Nocera

Nic Nocera and his dad Alex Nocera, run 3rd Space in Hackett. Photo: Yianni Karatzas.

Who is Nic Nocera: I am the general manager and co-owner of 3rd Space Canberra in Hackett.

Best recent dining experience: I would have to say my local late-night spot, Kita in Narrabundah. The crew there always provides the best and most friendly service while keeping the food insanely fresh and consistent every time. A definite must-visit in Canberra.

Food from Kita

Kita’s top of Nic’s list. Photo: Kita.CBR Facebook.

Favourite Cuisine: Considering my heritage and what I have grown up on, I’d have to say Italian! There’s nothing better in my books than homemade Italian food cooked by Nonna!

Most embarrassing pantry item: I would have to say good old Two-Minute Noodles! Working in and around a kitchen all day, you would think that would be the last thing I would crave, but sometimes after a long shift, it’s the simple things that taste the best!

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What ingredient can I not live without: Without a doubt, I would have to say garlic! There is nothing in my mind you can’t add garlic to to make it better.

Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I definitely think the Canberra food scene is growing and branching out across the ACT. With the development of Woden and all of the local restaurants like us popping up in the suburbs, Braddon and the city are not the only places to go for great quality food anymore!

Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: One of my favourites would have to be the Fares Bueller Lebanese food truck. The fresh, unique and insanely flavoursome food, in addition to the warm, friendly service, makes it my go-to. I would highly recommend the beef shawarma!

Cabbage meal

Rebel Rebel’s slow-roasted sugarloaf cabbage, whipped tahini and harissa oil. Photo: Rebel Rebel.

My Canberra food secret: Not sure if it’s much of a secret, but I would have to say Rebel Rebel tucked away in Acton. After my first experience there, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before as the food was incredible! Would definitely recommend!

Biggest culinary influence: While I have many, my Baka (grandmother) would definitely have to be the main one. Growing up surrounded by her amazing Croatian cooking, in addition to pretty much anything we wanted as kids, she is definitely a big part of why I am in this industry.

Dessert

Try the Corella cherry ripe at Corella Bar. Photo: @ohboicreative.

Favourite cookbook: Not that I read many, but the only real cookbook I have used would be the collection of recipes that my Baka has written throughout my childhood. They definitely have all the good stuff!

READ MORE Five minutes with Wes Heincke, Assembly and Corella Bar

Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: I would have to say the face of Corella bar and Assembly – Wes Heincke. Going from running such an incredible venue such as Assembly and then creating the amazing fine dining experience, which is Corella Bar, is crazy in my eyes. I am always eager to hear what he is doing next.

Artichoke spaghetti

The Jerusalem artichoke spaghetti with coral mushroom and saltbush from Corella. Photo: Amelia Bidgood.

What’s on the menu this week: Coming into that cold Canberra winter, we have a chilli prawn gnocchi on at the moment which is to die for! I will say it’s also rumoured to be best enjoyed by our fireplace!

Where am I travelling to next: I definitely will be going back overseas to Europe when I next get the chance as I have so many cousins I haven’t seen since before COVID. Not to mention all the amazing food!

Food van

Fares Bueller serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern street food. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Death row meal: This one is a no brainer. It would have to be my Zia’s (aunty) eggplant fritters. Insanely addictive and exactly would I would want on my deathbed!

My least favourite food: Cooked fish! People always find it strange as I love all other seafood and even enjoy most fish raw. But whenever I eat fish cooked, and that smell comes out, I will always run in the other direction!

READ ALSO Five minutes with Laura Dale, The ‘G’ Spot

My COVID-19 response: As one of the biggest challenges to ever hit the hospitality industry, we could not be grateful enough to our local customer base, which kept us going through those tough times. As a business, we are leaving COVID in the rearview mirror and focusing solely on providing amazing food and service to our customers!

My really simple recipe tip: As my father always taught me, don’t overdo it! To me, one of the most important tips for good food is keeping it simple and using good quality ingredients. We live by that in our restaurant!

3rd Space is open Wednesday from 3 pm to 8 pm, Thursday and Friday from 3 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm. It’s located at 14 Hackett Place, Hackett.

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