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. :-)
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. :-)
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. :-)