Shaky Isles Auckland

Having tragically moved to Auckland I’ve been forced to hunt for new food places, which has been a bit harder than it should :-(

There’s limited selection of food out where I live in Takapuna – about enough for one of each major food category – and Auckland seems to suffer from quite vegetarian-unfriendly menus, leading to many of my dining options consisting of some basic form of pizza. Or chips. :-/

Worst yet, has been the coffee. I’m beginning to suspect that there is an Auckland city bylaw that forbids good coffee places from opening up and instead mandating nasty Starbucks, Esquires or some other mortal sin.

Such a crime would be unforgivable in Wellington, a city that expects so much of it’s coffee venues that a Starbucks on the major CBD street closed down and was replaced with a local company, Mojo Coffee.

In short, I’ve had to endure horrors that no Wellingtonian should have to face and am forever scared and tormented in response.

However I’ve thankfully discovered Shaky Isles, who have a branch in Britomart near the main bus/train terminal as well as another branch in Kingsland. And they actually make a pretty decent coffee, along with some great food for vegetarians and less enlightened individuals alike. :-)

"Vegge's Have It All". Whilst a nice meal, I did find it a bit too much for me, so would advise leaving this one for when you're really hungry and want a healthier option than a typical eggs/fried breakfast.

The delicious vegetarian "Shaky Hash". It doesn't look huge, but it's damn delicious and I found it just the right size meal for a breakfast/brunch. It's actually probably my favourite item on their menu now.

If you fancy pancakes, Shaky has a number of options labelled as "pikelets" with vegetarian and bacon-lover variaties. In reality, they are somewhere in between pikelets and pancakes...

And of course the most important bit – coffee. :-)

Shaky has a pretty good coffee selection, good brew and consistency and several bean options to choose from, along with recommendations of beans for coffee type matches.

But to make me really happy, they have a delicious Whittakers chocolate mocha, with a Whittakers Sante Bar served in the coffee, quickly melting into the cup before your eyes.

(Yes I realize that a mocha does impact the enjoyment of the coffee itself, but damn if it isn’t delicious. Their other coffees are excellent too. :-)

Delicious melty Whittakers chocolate mocha <3

My only major complaint with Shaky Isles is that their website is a flash-only abomination, but thankfully I can deep link to their food menu (JPG) and their separate coffee/drinks menu (PDF) so all those of you without flash can still see. :-)

Shaky Isles can also be a bit confusing upon entry, with a counter for ordering takeaway coffee or food from the display, as well as a table service for diners. But it’s never quite clear upon entry whether you are supposed to wait to be seated or just go grab a table – these days grabbing some menus and going and finding a table seems to work OK for us, but making it a little clearer for customers could be nice to avoid confused loitering by the counter.

Service is usually pretty good, although I find that their table service makes the mistake of not checking for additional drinks or bringing water, something that is annoyingly common with NZ cafes.  It also surprises me that so many cafes get the drinks thing wrong – drinks are a great money earner, so forgetting to ask diners if they would like additional drinks is probably leading to a lot of lost revenue potential. And having no water on the table can quickly lead to a reduction of meal enjoyment when a bit thirsty and having to ask for it gets annoying fast.

Overall it’s great cafe for food and coffee and I recommend it – I expect I’ll be there often on weekends when visiting the CBD. :-)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Shaky Isles Auckland

  1. katjnz says:

    Firstly – I’m with you. When I moved here it took ages to get used to the dearth of decent food places, and the coffee situation is absolutely dire. I’m horrified at the difficulty finding even an OK cup of coffee after 5pm. Nevertheless, Shaky Isles is one of the establishments I would recommend, but it’s not the only one.

    I would recommend you check out the following places – Zap Thai (Dominion Rd or Britomart), Cafe Cezanne (Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Rd – also the only decent cafe in the city open anything near ‘late’), Hubcap Cafe (Ponsonby), Alleluya Bar & Cafe (K Rd), Coco’s Cantina (K Rd), Crave Cafe (Morningside), The Fridge (Kingsland – particularly famous for pies), Zarbos (Newmarket), Al Volo Pizza (Mt Eden) and Satya (K Rd, Grey Lynn and Mt Eden). Those, I promise, are all Wellington quality – some even better.

    All of them have vegetarian options to one degree or another – Satya (Indian) and Zap Thai are particularly fantastic for them, and I really cannot recommend either establishment enough. Both are extremely popular for a reason.

    If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, try O’Sarracino in Mt Eden (Italian) or Eight at the Langham.

    As for coffee, while many of the above establishments do a passable cup, I cannot recommend anyone more highly than eighthirty on K Rd. It is literally the best coffee I have had in this God forsaken city, and I might even be tempted to say it’s the best coffee I have ever had. They do coffee exclusively, and if you happen to be near the Ponsonby Rd end of K Rd on a weekday, or a Saturday morning, you should really stop in.

    I hope that gives you a few options to try out. :)

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Awesome thanks heaps Kat, I’ll have to start exploring some of these options.

      I’ve only begun to look at K Rd, unfortunately a number of my Auckland friends and girlfriend find it too far to walk from Britomart where we normally congregate and I refuse to bus or taxi such a short distance.

      Unfortunately I live and work out in Takapuna which means that CBD or suburban dining is more a weekend or evening out-with-friends kind of deal, rather than an option I can use for lunch or coffee during the day. :-(

      I’ve been to Satya a few times and love it – I’ve been getting a grand tour of all of Auckland’s curry options thanks to Thursday Night Curry ( and getting a good list of great places – should probably start to post reviews of some of them!

  2. katjnz says:

    Yeah sorry, in 6 years I can count the number of times I’ve actually got out of the car in Takapuna on one hand. Everything I know is on this side of the bridge, however the good news is that it’s not impossible to find cheap or even (gasp) free parking around most of these places, if the opportunity arose.

  3. Su Yin says:

    Shaky Isles can be pretty choice. We also often patronise L’Assiette (near Brew on Quay) and Federal & Wolfe (Cnr Federal and Wolfe Sts).

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Cool I’ll check out. :-)

      Only issue with Shaky Isles is that during peak times it’s not always possible to find a table and service drops, but as long as I get there before 11 on a weekend, it’s all good.

  4. Plan B says:

    Must say that Shaky Isles did not do it for me. Coffee very bland, Service very poor. Would not recommend, would not return. Looked them up and it is just corporate coffee faking it as cool. Even the design is derivative.

Leave a Reply