As I was preparing to write my post this week, I asked the guys if there were any requests. Thomas promptly said “best places to get Pasteis de Nata from!“. The thing is: I’ve either tried bad ones, or I’d stick to the one place so far that I found was good enough by my Portuguese standards, for example compared to Pastéis de Belém.
So instead of compiling a list of my personal favourite places in London (I don’t have enough data points), I’ll put together a list of places which some claim are the best ones. I’ll start by shortlisting three that seem decent options, and then I’ll just have to go on a field trip myself and taste them all. ALL. I take my ratings seriously. If I am going to rank them, I will do so rigorously, by trying a couple of Pasteis de Nata in each place.
current favourite: i love nata
This is my current favourite place for a pastel de nata, and I’ve had a few myself as well as gift them to people around me for various reasons. They’re not arguably exactly the same as the ones you’d get on any cafe in Portugal, but they’re close enough. My reasoning here is that, in Portugal, they’re not always the same either and you can find better and worse ones.
I find them better on the day of purchase (they should, in theory, survive a few days well), as the crust (flaky pastry) will go mushy quicker than ideal. However, on the day of purchase they’re tasty *and* crunchy on the outside. The first time I walked into the shop I mentioned to the guys there that they didn’t look like “real” pasteis de nata as they were too light (too yellow). They said “the British prefer them like that”, but to be fair, that has never happened again, so perhaps it was just a flaky excuse (!) for an otherwise unusually light batch.
Downside: they are known for this particular pastry, so there isn’t a lot of variety. However that’s not really a downside, now, is it? They’re also a bit pricey.
So, apparently, according to some websites, this is the place to go for pasteis de nata as well as other Portuguese pastries and cakes: Lisboa Patisserie. I haven’t been there yet, but the name doesn’t sound completely alien to me, so I must have heard it before.
As I said above, I can’t yet report on the goods quality but I will get right on it and conduct a precise investigation. I will update you regarding the findings as soon as possible. Meanwhile, if you have tried it, what’s your opinion on this place’s pasteis de nata?
The downside is that it’s not just around the corner from where I work (or live), so there’s that. But on the other hand, the overflowing shelves, with stacked pastries is a common sight in Portuguese cafes.
Another place that seems to have good reviews is Galeta. Unlike the previous two options, these are mainly sold in markets throughout London, rather than in a specific (fixed) shop.
I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m always a little suspicious about places that think raspberry pasteis de nata are an acceptable thing. Or a thing, in general. Nonetheless, in the interest of scientific discovery, I will try their (traditional) pasteis de nata and let you know how they hold up.
Bonus: if they do turn out to be good, they have online ordering which could potentially be nice on a lazy day that craves pasteis de nata!
According to their website, Madeira seem to be delivering their custard tarts to places like Selfridges, Harrods, and Nando’s. That alone seemed like a good reason to try them, so this is my third and final option for my “to try” list of pasteis de nata.
The bonus here is that you can get them from a variety of places on any day you really feel like you need one, but I wonder whether they’re that good. The images on the website leave me feeling a little dubious (too yellow-y).
Now all that’s left for me to do is go on field trips around London and eat these tasty tarts 🙂 I’ll let you know how it all holds up in the end. Promise.
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