I’d read that Loading Zone was to be Canberra’s first lane way dining café. It is located on Odgers Lane, a little alleyway in the Melbourne Building. The kitchen part is in quite a tiny space in the wall. There is limited seating available – a few stools inside with a small table lining the wall, or a few outdoor tables underneath the shade of the outdoor umbrellas.
There is no menu where you can pick out a dish – lunch is 2 pastas for $15 or the two pastas plus bread and salad for $22. There’s no choice of pastas as they’re both set for the day. The very friendly waiter advises of the pastas to be served.
My partner and I chose the $22 special. One small slice of bread each with butter is provided. Our salad – the citrus salad, was nice and fresh. The orange was sweet and I could’ve eaten much more of this! I’d never thought of putting oranges in a salad before. It also worked really well with the red onion.
We were then provided with 2 half serves of pastas. The first was the broccoli and smashed egg pesto pasta – delicious! A healthy kind of pasta with fresh crunchy broccoli. The egg pesto was fabulous. It just worked. I’d love to replicate this myself.
The waiters come around with a big metal bowl and scoop the pastas out of it into your bowl. It was a bit strange as we hadn’t finished our salad or first pasta before we had to make room on our plates for the second pasta (you only have the one plate for everything). I guess you have to eat fast!
The Italian sausage ragu was nice though the sausage was a bit too fatty for me. The sauce was so tasty, I would’ve licked the whole plate if no one else was around.
Pros: What I love about this place is that the menu changes every day. Their facebook page provides updates on the day’s menu items. The food is delicious and fresh! The staff are also super friendly and enthusiastic about their food.
Cons: Only hiccup – my partner specifically asked for no cucumber in his salad but it came out with it mixed in. It felt a tad rushed since we hadn’t finished our first pasta dish before the next one came out – not good if you don’t like your food touching as there is only one plate for everything. You need to get there by 12 on the dot for lunch or after 2pm as there are only about 8 tables and a few bar style benches and stools. It gets busy! They also don’t take bookings.
I’d go back and try the 2 pasta special for $15. The extra $7 for 1 small piece of bread and bit of salad wasn’t really worth it – though the citrus salad was awesome.