Review of Cafe de Nata, a Portuguese bakery store at Hammersmith, offering a range of heavenly Pastel de Nata!
I have yet to visit Portugal but I’m not a stranger to these Portuguese goodness called Pastel de Nata. If you don’t already know, they are traditional Portuguese custard tarts. What makes it special though is its caramelized surface and its slightly “curdled” texture of the custard cream. It has always been one of my most favourite pastries to have.
In Hong Kong, we always get to enjoy these tarts from KFC or, since Macau (previously a Portuguese colony) is so near and convenient to travel to, this gorgeous delicacy is always within reach to us. I remember clearly growing up, a KFC meal is not completed without a Portuguese tart to finish with.
Quite recently, Cafe de Nata opened its store at Hammersmith and of course I took the chance to pay a visit.
It’s just an open unit with a takeaway counter at the Broadway Shopping Centre in Hammersmith but you couldn’t miss the sight of the trays of freshly made pastel de natas staring at you alluringly.
Apparently, apart from pastel de natas and coffees, they also do quiches. I was out for brunch around the area with my friend beforehand so my stomach pretty much only had room for a pastel de nata at that time. I guess the quiches have to wait till next time.
Nevertheless, I still decided to treat myself and got two of these tarts – one to try on the spot and the other to save for later. The tarts are packaged into a nicely designed box and you also get the option of getting a packet a cinnamon to serve with the tarts.
The pastry is definitely key to the tart and Cafe de Nata has definitely nailed it well. The pastry has an absolutely beautiful crispy and flaky texture. It has this light buttery aroma that wouldn’t taste too heavy or overpowering. As for the custard, it was simply luscious and rich. The custard cream was slightly curdled, creating some texture and adding a touch of rusticity – precisely the staple of pastel de natas. The caramelized surface then adds another layer of texture and flavour to the tart.
The composition of the tart was simply perfect. It wasn’t too sweet nor too heavy – everything was on point. The size of the tart was slightly smaller than I expected or remembered from the Hong Kong KFCs though. On that aspect I felt it might be a bit pricey but it was worth it as an occasional treat to myself.