MELBOURNE | One of the many lasting memories that I have of my trip to Lisbon back in 2011 is eating pastéis de nata at Pasteis Belem. The sweet custard tarts, with their wonderfully flaky, buttery pastry, originated here in 1837 and are still made using the same recipe today. I was hooked from the start.
Pastéis de nata are popular across Portugal, as well as former Portuguese colonies. In Australia, I’ve always struggled to find a version that matches the gold standard set by Pastéis Belém. That is, until now.
Nelson Countinho and Ruben Bertolo, who are both of Portuguese decent, grew up eating pastéis de nata, and had the same difficulty finding good ones in Australia. Despite not being bakers, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
In 2017, Nelson and Ruben went to Portugal eating and learning as much as they could from bakers across the country. They returned to Australia, launched Casa Nata, and set about perfecting their recipe.
After a successful pop-up at The Queen Victoria Night Market, they set up their bricks and mortar store in Thornbury, launching during lockdown. At the moment it’s just tarts and coffee on offer, with a few more baked Portuguese goodies potentially being added to the menu down the line (Bolinhos de bacalhau please!).
It’s going to be a while since most of us will be able to travel to Portugal, but at least you don’t have to leave Melbourne to try an A grade pastéis de nata.
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