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A quick Instagram stalk of Hello Friends + Allies will tick all the boxes – latte art, avocado, eggs bene, cake cabinet. The breakfast bruschetta ($19) is 100% on looks. It comes with an overwhelming load of feta cheese, and added saltiness with the smoked prosciutto leaving me incredibly thirsty. Unfortunately the beautiful fig and awkward puddle of honeycomb did little to help balance things out. The cafe has an enticing baked goods cabinet. The passionfruit cake ($6) is fluffy but the filling sandwiched in between is heavy and bland. I just wish there was more of that delicious tangy sauce. While the staff are friendly, the service can be slow. It’s spacious with an extra private room out back.

Hello Friends + Allies
93 Great South Road, Epsom, Auckland 

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twohonesttruths_theshelf1The Shelf is a new and popular addition to the High Street cafe scene. Inside, the restaurant is lined with wooden shelves filled with trinkets sourced by the owner over more than a year. It’s reasonably spacious for a city centre spot and service is friendly and efficient. To drink we had the Blueberry smoothie ($7.50) which was naturally sweetened and refreshing as well as the Lemon ginger honey ($7.50) that was served as a make-your-own. It was accompanied with a mini hourglass that told you when your drink was ready. Each item came with smiling cutlery. We then ordered a Cajun chicken salad ($17) and Chicken fettuccine ($18). The dishes were flavourful, the pasta creamy and the salad well seasoned. They were nothing out-of-this-world, just typical cafe food. As for dessert, their cheesecakes are a must-eat! Since we already had blueberries we chose the Lemon cheesecake ($7.50). It was super smooth and creamy with just the right sweetness and tang. The cheesecake is of a thicker consistency so if you prefer softer ones, this may not be the one for you.

This is a happy getaway in the bustling CBD, we’ll be back for more cakes and drinks and possibly some waffles too. The Iced mocha, Hot chocolate and Blueberry cheesecake are also worth trying. Note that there may be a short wait for tables.twohonesttruths_theshelf9 twohonesttruths_theshelf7twohonesttruths_theshelf2 twohonesttruths_theshelf3 twohonesttruths_theshelf4 twohonesttruths_theshelf6 twohonesttruths_theshelf5 twohonesttruths_theshelf15 twohonesttruths_theshelf8 twohonesttruths_theshelf14 twohonesttruths_theshelf13 twohonesttruths_theshelf12 twohonesttruths_theshelf10twohonesttruths_theshelf11The Shelf.
50 High Street, Auckland Central.

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It’s officially Restaurant Month! The first restaurant I tried was Grassy Knoll. In actual fact, I hadn’t chosen the cafe based on its participation in the Big Little City promotion but that I had been having a terrible stomach bug the last few days and had appetite only for more light and healthy meals. A quick google search had led me to believe this was the healthiest interesting place I could get in the city centre. So, this month’s menu at Grassy Knoll is:

Salad – Grilled Chorizo, Mesclun, Tomato, Onion, Courgette
Soup of the Day – today was Lentil, Chickpea, Bacon
Hot lemon ginger tea ($21)

It’s pretty straightforward, the dishes are full of ingredients and delicious. The ginger tea was superb on such a cold windy day, warm and soothing. The portions were just right and we all loved the bread that it came with. How shall I put it, I think it’s simply – they make feel-good meals.

One thing you must know, their cabinet is jaw dropping. The sandwiches piled in there look amazingly good, and are brimming with ingredients. I am running back already.

Check out the Restaurant Month menus here.P1018087-Edit P1018089-Edit P1018092-Edit P1018096-Edit P1018099-EditP1018088-Edit

Let’s add a little mystery. Visit Grassy Knoll to see for yourself the yummy looking cabinet.P1018104-Edit
Grassy Knoll.
21 Shortland Street, Auckland Central.

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Hidden beside a modern art gallery and within a business block, I don’t think I would ever have stumbled across this restaurant had it not had an online coupon deal (such an excellent idea for cafes to generate some exposure and of course an initiative appeasing for the wallet). I haven’t read up on any reviews for this restaurant but I do know that they are slanted more towards the healthy eating side of things. I ordered a berry smoothie to go along with my eggs benedict. It may be too biased to base a restaurant on how well their benes are done but hey, I think it’s fair to say eggs benedict are a fair breakfast/brunch staple in Auckland.  Whilst the smoothie my taste-buds agreed on, the eggs not so much. My sister’s blueberry pancakes weren’t all that appetizing both visually or for the stomach. This isn’t a bustling crowd, people-watching cafe, but more of a modern quiet hideaway. I did enjoy the refreshing setup with the high ceiling, lots of natural light and an excellent in-outdoor flow.

table-marker smoothie beneblueberry-pancakes mother-in-law-eggs inside

Gala Cafe.
Zone 23, Unit G08 at 23 Edwin St, Mt Eden, Auckland. (not visible outside-  in the courtyard through the main entrance of the building.)

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