The Shelf has a laid-back ambiance and cutesy playschool decor. Pop music plays softly in the background and cartoon drawings adorn the walls. The styling is similar to Moustache with black tiles, light wood and high stools.
The menu at The Shelf is charmingly miss-spelt, and diverse enough that you can go here to enjoy breakfast, lunch or a simple dinner. They use only free range "Eggs, Bacons and Chickens". Mains range from $10 to $20. These guys don't have a liquor license so no boozy diners here (or lunch, or brunch, for that matter).
They do a hearty winter stew with slow-cooked beef cheek and winter vegetables ($16) which is rich and fortifying, and has a peppery tang to it. Other mains on offer are similarly hearty, down to earth and healthy, including open sandwiches, made to order salads, and The Shelf healthy breakfast.
They've also got a range of tasty cookies and cakes in their cabinet that should cater to any sugar craving you might be having. The Shelf has a ton of sweet all-day brunch options such as waffles ($10-14) served with cream and maple syrup, and french toast ($12), served with grilled banana. One word of warning about their menu though: 'berry compote' means a tiny of a drizzle of berry sauce, and not a noticeable addition of berry to the dish.
If you're a fan of creamy white coffee with chocolate and caramel notes, a flat white using Coffee Labs' Premium Lab Blend will be a real treat, but if you prefer more subtle coffee with a wider pallet you can get their Ethiopian Suke Quto Organic single source coffee. This one has notes of orange blossom and almond toffee, and is best suited to black coffees, for fuller appreciation of it's complexity.
Parking is pretty awkward here unless you want to pay an arm and a leg, but this is a great local spot if you live or work in town. Once you've finished your meal you've got the entire playground of Auckland central to explore and enjoy.