Nata & Co – The Portuguese Pastry Paradise

The whole country is still under attack from 100 mile an hour winds and torrential rainfall.  I hadn’t been out of the house for what seemed like a year, apart from the journey to work and back…

It was time to break the seal and undo the dead lock on the front door. What made this whole prospect much more palatable was the promise of some Pastel de Nata – Portuguese egg custard tarts. They seem to be everywhere recently, most of them average- chewy pastry and tasteless custard, but apparently this place ‘Nata and Co’ is the mecca of all things delicious and contraband for the weight conscious – the place to drink strong coffee and gorge on baked goods. Pastel de Nata were apparently originally made by Monks, who seemed to have a lot of egg yolks left over after cleaning nun’s habits and clearing their Porto with the whites. Lucky for us.

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After a very sensible Friday night we arrived early to the bakery and were greeted by a lovely Portuguese lady and a very handsome chap in Chef’s whites. I asked him for a pic, seeing as he’d probably been out back for 10 hours already, toiling away to bring us these treats laid out before us. He declined with a sweet smile and a sparkle in his eye.  The space has some seating around its edges for you to enjoy a cup of the very delicious, strong but not bitter coffee on offer. However your eye is immediately drawn to the pretty enticing array of baked goods at the back of the store.

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We decided to get straight into the eating. There were so  many different things to choose from, we asked for some help deciding what to eat after finding out what was what,  and went for some savoury salted cod fish cakes – I think they are called ‘Bolinhos de Bacalhau’ and some sort of cheese, ham, onion and tomato Brioche breaded delight.  It was like a pasty – so close to our Welsh hearts – but the vehicle was a beautifully textured, slightly sweet brioche type roll filled with tomatoes and sweet caramelly onions that still had some bite and texture, salty ham and a melty, sticky cheese.  DELICIOUS.  The salt cod cakes were crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside, a savoury delight. Don’t be scared by the “salt codedness” of it all, they weren’t fishily frightening or over-seasoned. Eat them.

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We brought home an every day loaf, something else stuffed with ham and chorizo and cheese and slowed cooked onions and …. you get the picture, some of the famous Pastel de Nata and some stuffed chicken croquettes, which I know are called Coxinha in Brazil and so are probably called the same thing in Portugal, I think…

The Pastel de Nata numbers were decreasing before our very eyes, at least 5 people came in, ordered in Portuguese and left with boxes of them.  I’m not flippin’ surprised, the crisp, flaky pastry stands as a great contrast to the luxurious egg custard, with it’s slight darker more caramelised parts giving a depth of flavour.  I imagine mamãe back home in Portugal will be happy to know that any of their Cardiff living offspring are being well looked after- in want of a comforting taste of home.

Nata Bread

nata

Nata Cakes

Egg Tarts

Make some time, go to Clifton Street in Splott, drink some coffee and chat to the staff to find out what’s what and eat something – eat everything.  You won’t be disappointed. I will be returning next week in my elasticated trouserwear.

Don’t take my word for it, give it a go, you’d be a Nata not to…*groan*

Address – Nata & Co, 118, Clifton Street, Splott, Cardiff CF24
Telephone – 0745533705
Twitter@natacouk
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9 comments

  1. Just rub it in why not – I visited Snails Deli in Rhiwbina today and after a very nice Glamorgan sausage sandwich, I joined a long queue to order and pay for a pot of tea and a scrummy looking Pastel de Nata (there were 5 or 6 in the tray). Imagine then my surprise 10 minutes later when a young man brought the tea and news that the tarts were all gone! Apparently they sold all the remaining tarts (including MINE) to someone else. I queried this politely and his response was to walk away . . . . rude! Money back and overly wet tea was my lot. Verdict on Snails? Nice food (when they don’t sell it from under you) . . . possibly named for it’s service however!

  2. Rini!!! You have a food blog?? You’re the coolest. I LOVE natas. Much better than the Chinese version with boring short pastry. Will definitely give this place a try when I next visit Cardiff.

  3. Took my family to Nata and Co this morning! Genuine Natas and many other amazing cakes! They definitely got the thumbs up from the Portuguese micro-community at our place! My son came away saying ” Portuguese cakes are the best in the world!”

    • Hey Carla!

      I’m so glad that you found them authentic. Not being Portuguese it’s hard to vouch for that, which is different to realising that they taste good! It’s what we need more of,things that taste like they should!

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