Pastel de Nata are the creamy, custardy, caramelised tarts that originate from Portugal over 180 years ago. In recent times, they have hopped across the pond and taken London by storm and here is my top 10 list of places to eat them in the capital.
1. Lisboa Patisserie, Notting Hill.
For the weekend wanderer.
Lisboa Patisserie is a no fuss, no frills Portuguese cafe near Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Inside it’s a little rough around the edges and you’ll usually see a group local men sat outside smoking while digging into one of their delicacies. They sell a whole load of Portuguese treats but are most famous for their traditional, glossy and flaky custard tarts. Expect a long queue, speedy service and tables that turn around quickly. Take a detour here if you’re around the market.
2. Taberna do Mercado, Spitalfields Market.
For the indulgent.
Taberna is a classy, Portuguese restaurant in Spitalfields Market that serves dainty but indulgent pastel de nata for a teatime treat or after dinner dessert. This is the only one I’ve tried that ACTUALLY OOZES smooth, creamy, liquid custard when you bite into it. Not really a grab and go kind of nata. More of a take your time one. A little birdy tells me they do this by the slice too!
3. Cafe de Nata, Hammersmith
For the true food lovers.
Cafe de Nata have got a true passion when it comes to their custard tarts. As the name suggests the cafe is dedicated to these little treats and everything is made in their tiny kitchen, with their own hands and in their own words ‘with love’. The time, effort and devotion that goes into one of these pastries is unbelievable, and if you do want to learn it first hand you can join their Sunday 3-hour masterclass. Contact them for details and see full blog post here.
4. Galeta, South Bank Market
For the adventurous.
You can’t miss Galeta at Southbank Food Market just up from the London Eye. Their stall is piled high with massive cookies and of rows of pastel de natas. They do classic custard, sweet raspberry or fresh blueberry versions, and the whole sharp fruity thing together with the rich custard is delish. 4 for £5 too, and whoever just eats one!
5. Canela, Covent Garden
For the serious types.
Canela is a trendy tapas and wine bar in the heart of Covent Garden. Think work lunches and people catching up over coffee during the day and wine in the evening. A taste of Portugal in central London, they offer a large savoury menu as well as their very delicate natas. A lovely place for a weekend coffee and treat stop if youre in central London.
6. I love Natas, Seven Dials
For the sweet tooth.
This cute little café serves natas, natas and only natas. Hence the name! The original one is sweet, warm and gooey but If you’re looking for something bit more adventurous they’ve recently started doing a savoury codfish and cream version which I need to try. Sit inside and use their nata shaped shakers to add cinnamon or sugar to your tart, and any family members reading this it’s my birthdays in August and I want one so bad!
7. Cafe Maderia, Vauxhall
For the South Londoners.
These are authentic Portuguese tarts by authentic Portuguese people. Can’t be more authentic than that right? Cafe Maderia have a deli, cafe and a restaurant all on one road in South London doing Portuguese delicacies and I’ve read that they supply to the likes of Nandos. Can’t get more Portuguese then that, right?
8. Harrods, Knightsbridge.
For the ones who want to say I’ve eaten in Harrods.
If you’re in Harrods and looking at the designer handbags, 50-inch tv’s and four-poster beds for your pet dog I really commend you. Me? I head straight to the food court and their pastel de natas are the reason. It also means I can now say I’ve eaten in Harrods. Life goal achieved.
9. The Espresso Room, Covent Garden.
For the coffee lovers.
If you like coffee and love natas this place is for you. A tiny cafe that has just three tables, artisan coffee and fresh pastel de nata. Stalk out a seat on this small street just off Covent Garden and watch the world go by. All while eating custard wrapped in crispy puff pastry. What’s not to love.
10. Sweet Brigadeiro, Camden Market.
For the cool kids.
In the East Yard of Camden Markets amazing food stalls, this cute little stand sells chocolate truffles as well as pastel de nata. Get something savoury at one of the KERB food stands and then end up here for dessert.