I’m going to be honest here: Er Buchetto wasn’t my first choice for brunch.
About five minutes before taking my seat, I’d been a few doors down Ranelagh Road in Cinnamon – not quite comfortable and ready to order, but standing at the ‘Please Wait To Be Seated’ sign by the entrance. And standing. And standing some more. And trying to make eye contact with the passing staff, but finding it quite impossible.
When you’re located smack bang in the centre of Ranelagh – which has more brunch options than it has convenience stores – you just can’t afford to dick about like this with waiting customers. Waiting for a table for 20 minutes is much better than being completely ignored for five, and so I made an executive decision: to hell with this crap.
Er Buchetto (or ‘The Purple Place’) has long been my first choice for coffee in Ranelagh, and its panini are unparallelled in the southside – but when it comes to brunch, it’s always been just a fallback.
After all, the options on the menu aren’t quite as comprehensive as some of its neighbours, and the absence of some of the most flavoursome brunch staples – step forward, pulled pork and hollandaise sauce – have always acted as something of a deterrent when my mouth’s been watering at the prospect of such shamelessly strong flavours.
This morning, though, it’s the exact fallback I need. Small, intimate and cosy without being cramped, there’s a seat waiting for me down the back – and I’m guided to it with a friendly nod within seconds of arriving in the door.
One of the problems with Dublin brunch menus is that they can tend to be a bit repetitive – the same old dishes with different names, in most cases – but to its credit, Er Buchetto breaks from that mould.
Options like smoked bacon, tomato and smoked cheese in a croissant are not what you’d call the norm, after all – and while it is a bit hit and miss, maybe even a little unremarkable, there are more than enough hits here to get you through.
I go for the avocado on toasted sourdough with a chilli, cherry tomato and garlic oil, and add in the bacon for an extra €1.50. At €9.45 (including the bacon supplement), it’s perhaps a little pricey for something so basic – and when you go this simple, you really need to know what you’re playing at, or you’ll very quickly be found out.
Fortunately, though, the team at Er Buchetto really do know what they’re playing at; the dish is colourful and fresh, with expertly selected ingredients and avocado that could not be at a more perfect stage of ripeness. The oil, meanwhile, packs a serious punch both in terms of heat and flavour, lifting what might otherwise be a fairly flat palate across the plate.
The coffee, as I’ve already mentioned, is the best in Ranelagh – and as I sip on mine after I finish my brunch, and watch the village go by on a busy Saturday morning over the top of a newspaper, I think to myself that maybe this deserves to be a little bit more than a backup.
It may not be the go-to spot in Ranelagh, but it’s solid, reliable and – perhaps most importantly of all in a competitive environment such as this one – it seems to actually welcome the customers who walk in the door.