A piece of Portugal in London at Café de Nata.
Every time I go to Portugal, one of the first things I look for is the scrumptious Pastel de Nata. These very Portuguese little custard tarts baked to perfection are irresistible and the problem with them is that one is really not enough. They are also quite versatile: a breakfast treat, a midmorning snack, a post lunch dessert, an afternoon match for a cup of coffee, they are perfect every time.
But wouldn't it be nice to find the quality of a Pastel de Nata from Portugal in London? Well, meet Café de Nata, the café-bakery that is putting the Portuguese custard tarts on the London map.
First launched in 2016, Café de Nata is a family business with three branches in London situated in Hammersmith, South Kensington and Soho. I was lucky enough to visit their Soho branch and spoke to Husein Virji, one of the founders of Café de Nata about business, their future plans and of course their passion for these delicious Portuguese national gems, which the team refers to as the “King of Portuguese Pastries”!
The Soho branch is buzzing, and despite being more of a “take-away” concept there is still place for a sitting down coffee and pastel. The branch also has a dynamic feel to it, Café de Nata in Soho is in London's prime location. A theatre heaven area with the most vibrant and lively nightlife of the capital, this branch reflects the rush but without ever compromising on top service and quality and it is open until late in the evening. As I arrived, I was met with smiles and huge enthusiasm of the staff, keen for me to choose which flavour to try. Exactly. At Café de Nata, creativity and innovation come with tradition. They have developed attractive alternatives for the classic custard tart such as chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apple & cinnamon and the coconut one which I tried and can tell it is superb.
Through a glass wall we can see the pastéis de nata being produced and baked all day long, in an endless process. This a very important element to Café de Nata as they are proud to bake their natas every day, throughout the day using fresh custard and dough, honouring a 300 year-old tradition. The result is an irresistible little piece of heaven that is clearly superior in quality and flavour.
Although this is very much an international business, with staff not only from Portugal but also from the UK, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Brazil and many more countries, a point the team was keen to make, is the attention to detail when it comes to Portuguese heritage – which is everywhere. One of the highlights is the stunningly illustrated walls of the Soho branch. Through the talent of the young Portuguese artist João Cardoso the walls within the Soho
branch speak to us about all the important landmarks in Portugal and the heritage and cultural pride of the country
As a business, Café de Nata aims to expand and counting on the great timing of interest for all things Portuguese and the quality of their delicious pastéis, we will hopefully see a branch in every corner. That was my dream, and as I strolled back to the underground, I was very happy to be tasting their traditional flavoured pastel de nata. Heavenly.
Café de Nata www.cafedenata.com
Hammersmith - South Kensington - Soho
This feature was kindly sponsored by Cravo&Canela
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