Something of a Bristol breakfast institution, Brunel’s Buttery (with or without the apostrophe, depending on which of the riverside hut’s signs you believe), has been tempting Bristol with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich since 1980. Previous owners Colin and Joan Nutt, who had been at the helm since the very first day, buttered their last butty in mid-2012 before handing over to new owners Gary and Naomi Hands and leaving to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
Sticking with the same menu as provided by Colin and Joan (although I heard rumours last year of an unwelcomed switch of tea supplier, which was supposedly quickly changed back after complaints), the unassuming looking hut overlooking the Lloyds building opposite offers a simple menu of hot and cold sandwiches, pies and pasties, sweet treats and hot and cold drinks. A small amount of outside seating in the form of picnic benches is available…which may look like a lot of space when you see the size of the Buttery itself, but any true Bristolian will know the size of the queues! If you don’t fancy fighting for a table, you can instead choose to get your food to take away.
These queues mean that you should generally expect fairly brusque service as you’re ushered forward to give your order, given a numbered slip and asked to wait in line until it’s ready. Choose between a roll, a sandwich or baguette, select your filling (we greedily went for bacon, sausage AND egg on our last visit…) and help yourself to HP Sauce or ketchup from squirty-topped catering tubs at the side of the building.
Don’t go to Brunel’s expecting a gourmet breakfast – it’s a no-frills institution that’ll provide you with a decent sandwich and a cup of tea for under a fiver. Two bacon/sausage/egg sandwiches, a cup of tea and a cup of hot chocolate set us back exactly £10 on our last visit…and while the sausages may not be the best quality, the bread is thickly sliced and fresh, the bacon is fantastic and the yolks of the eggs are always beautifully runny…what’s not to love?
Brunel’s Buttery is open from 8am to 4pm Monday-Friday, and from 8am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The perfect, wallet-friendly stop for those visiting M Shed or the SS Great Britain. Recommended.
Find Brunel’s Buttery on the Bristol Bites Directory…