It is fair to say that Canberra is not brimming with the type of laneway culture that has become synonymous with Melbourne over the last decade or so, and that is fair enough, given the differences in the two city’s histories and planning. Canberra, a much younger city blessed with large public spaces and wide sidewalks, has embraced a coffee culture that is more reminiscent of the European piazza than the grungy back alley. Funnily enough, in the laneway that runs through the one building that actually bears the southern capital’s name, we find Loading Zone, a café that true to its title, shares its surrounds with the delivery trucks and various vehicles of trade as they go about their daily routine. That said, it is well worth the visit – not just for the quirky and sunny backstreet setting, but also for the quality breakfast and lunch service and excellent coffee. The no nonsense space that houses a kitchen and an espresso bar is revealed each morning from behind a roller door. A small bench to the right is room enough for two or three, and the outdoor area – covered and well heated to protect patrons from the elements during the harsh winter days – seats around forty. From the kitchen, expect a breakfast of baked eggs with Italian fennel and pork sausage or a lunch offering such as slow braised beef cheeks with polenta mash and pappadelle with slow braised pork belly. The menu here changes daily. Announced on Facebook and scrawled onto the large blackboard each morning, it is wholly dependent on what is seasonal and fresh, and flexible enough to allow for the odd journey into various cuisines beyond Italian. A good selection of wines is available, taking in a few local drops, and coffee is custom blended by Sydney outfit Di Stefano.
22 Odgers Lane, Melbourne Building, City
02 6248 6400
Mon – Fri 7am – 3.30pm
Sat 9am – 2pm
$6.0 – $23.0