I visited New York City for the first time in February. I was 30 years old. I still am. It took a long time to get there (dreaming since four years old) but I did it and it was the greatest place I’ve ever pressed the soles of my feet onto. It may seem ridiculous to highlight one particular brunch as my favourite part of the five day trip, but I’m a ridiculous person and I’m going to do just that.
A good friend of mine, Stories My Suitcase Could Tell, kindly pulled together an outrageously detailed guide to the city for me. It was my bible and it resulted in me experiencing places I would never have found without an insider’s knowledge. One suggestion under the heading ‘West Village’, was brunching at Buvette. So on day three, a frosty, blustery Monday morning, I hopped on the Midtown subway Downtown and from there I began fantasising about my future life as a New Yorker.
When I stepped out into daylight at Washington Square, it felt like authentic New York City. Brown stones all around and vast crossings that feel like you’ll never make it across before the traffic starts moving again. It’s glorious. Four blocks away is Grove Street, number 42 is where you’re headed. On route the bustle of Downtown quietens a little as you ease into a more residential setting. Another four blocks beyond Grove Street is Perry Street which is home to the iconic exterior for Carrie Bradshaw’s rent controlled apartment. You get a better idea of the setting now right?
When I walked into Buvette, I instantly felt at home. It’s cosy, warm and very French but it’s very New York too. Bottles of red decorate the exposed red brick walls and the small square wooden tables are accompanied by cute steel chairs and red stools. The staff are welcoming and the girl who greeted me gestured to the bar when she realised I would be dining alone. I’ve never had a meal at a bar before, but I loved it. Perched there, analysing every detail of the wooden bartop, peaking at the newspaper the couple to my right were reading, I felt more content to be a solo traveler than ever before. I got into a brief conversation with the girl to my left, also brunching alone. She was lovely, but we cut the conversation after a couple of minutes because we both came out alone for a reason. Some time was spent staring into nothing and some more silently appreciating the Buvette branding at the top of the menu.
Buvette’s menu isn’t extensive, which was a relief as I’m the most indecisive person on earth. Eggs with salmon seemed like the best choice for a Scotsman and I tried to resist the sweet treats but I have no will power. There are of course quintessentially French pastries available too and the vast selection of wines was painful to resist. Their coffee is strong and full bodied and after two I was absolutely wired and ready to commence a day of exploring. Buvette is classically and unashamedly French in an era of modern takes on brunch.
The experience ruined me for life. I don’t know if I can ever be that happy again!