Pastel de Nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts
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So back in the day (that's the 18th century, chaps) Portuguese convents and monasteries used to starch their nuns' habits and the like with egg whites. That's a lot of egg whites, and a whole lot of yolks, too. These needed using up, so all the good monks and all the good nuns swiftly turned them into delicious custard tarts. Clever sods.
They sprinkled a little cinnamon on for flavour, caramelised the tops and made a pretty penny selling them too. Now we know you get them any-old-where these days, but these spots make their own - so time it right and they'll be warm, gooey and fresh to death.
Tottenham's West Green Road is a hectic international blur, and Bom Pecado is Portugal's representative: a slightly scruffy spot serving up cakes, sandwiches, salads and freshly baked breads to locals looking to have a catch up and chill. No sign of laptops or exposed brickwork - it's an authentic, old-school cafe where grizzly Portuguese geezers sip on cervejas.
Locals know best, and most W10 natives will concur that despite its unglamorous appearance, Lisboa Patisserie is the place for a coffee and cake. It’s hard to miss the strong Portuguese influence on the Golborne road, so listen closely and follow the accents to this gem. And when you're there? Natas!
What initially started out as a little shop on Columbia Road selling Portuguese curios and foodstuffs has now turned into a cute little deli/café on Hackney Road. All sorts of Portuguese goodies are available to have in or take-away - wines, cheeses, cured meats, tinned fish, toasties, salads, pastries and you know whats.
This real-deal Portugese deli/cafe/restaurant imports all of its ingredients directly from the homeland. Pop in for homemade breads and cured meats at lunch or check it out after dark when it turns into a proper restaurant. We had the Bacalhau Bras (no idea how to pronounce that) and a little wine with our nata.
Casa Madeira encompasses a family-run restaurant; a well stocked deli full of Iberian goodness, a bar and a vibrant cafe doing coffee and cakes. And by cakes, you know we're talking natas. From the distinctive red Sagres seats and parasols outside to the numerous locals whiling away their weekends - this place feels real authentic.
Family and business don't always mix (just ask the Gallaghers) but at Anderson & Co, mother and daughter are working in harmony to bring a dope cafe-brasserie to the streets of Peckham. This place is the master of all trades: dinner, lunch, breakfast, brunch and homemade fresh bakes.
The clever folks at Wild Goose Bakery know exactly what they’re doing - baking cinnamon swirls, bake-wells, muffins, flapjacks, brownies, lemon drizzle and pastel de nata. We copped one. Still warm from the oven, the flaky pastry filled with custard, caramelised and cinnamony, touched us in places no one had in a while.
This tavern tucked away in one of the arches of Flat Iron Square, does Portuguese fare with flair. Inspired by the traditional tascas of Portugal, Bar Douro serves up small dishes like croquettes de alheira, Leitão suckling pig and Cataplana fish stew. And their pastel de nata come with cinnamon ice cream - slurp slurp.