One of our first stops in London was the venerable British Museum, where they had a delightful museum cafe run by the local cafe chain Benugo (various locations throughout London). Imagine our surprise when we saw the iconic Portuguese pastry, the Pastel de Nata, being advertised proudly front and center alongside muffins and scones, as a “Panata.” We certainly weren’t expecting to see one of our favorite Portuguese treats in this location! The panata from Benugo was actually pretty good, and once we saw our favorite treats there, we started seeing them in shops all around town. Who would have thought it would be so popular in London?
After our first discovery, we set off on a quest to find what was deemed the best Pastel de Nata in London. With a little research, we found a lot of positive press for Lisboa Delicatessen (54 Golborne Road, London W10 5PR) near the Portobello Road Market. This was a little local patisserie on an unassuming street. It truly seemed like it could have been plucked right out of Lisbon and plopped here, right down to the Sical coffee sign. There was not much to see on the outside, but we were heartened to see a cadre of old Portuguese men chatting outside the shop, and a lovely assortment of Portuguese pastries inside, including bolo de arroz and piramides!
Each Pastel de Nata was £1.50 apiece, which was a little expensive, but then again, so is everything in London. There was a nice browning on top, and the cream filling was perfectly creamy and eggy. The crust was fairly flaky, but seemed to have been sitting for a little while, so was not as crisp as we may have liked. However, this was definitely one of the best pasteis we had tried in Europe outside of Lisbon.
Between the Pasteis and the atmosphere, for a moment we were truly transported to Lisbon. If you really want to get into the Lisboeta experience there is a small Portuguese grocery across the street that sells bacalao, tea, coffee and Portuguese canned goods. So was this the best Pastel de Nata in London? Maybe, but you’ll have to try for yourself!