In Portuguese saudade (pronounced “sau-da-de”) describes a profound longing for an absent something or someone. It’s also the name of this specialty bakery serving only pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) and coffee.
Ownership is split between two Lisbon-born couples – Carla and Miguel Alemao, and Mafalda Azevo and Joao Valle – who met through mutual Portuguese friends in Adelaide.
The concept came first – because they all missed proper Portuguese custard tarts from home – and the team worked backwards from there. Azevo undertook two TAFE courses (in patisserie, and baking); consulted with a Portuguese baker in Australia; and conducted blind tastings before jetting home to train at Fábrica da Nata – a Lisbon bakery turning out award-winning tarts. The owner, a friend of Azevo’s husband, shared his top-secret recipe. She has tweaked it to incorporate Laucke Mills flour from the Barossa and Rohde’s free-range eggs from the Clare Valley.
The crispy, custard-filled tarts may look simple, but Saudade has making them down to a fine art. We’re told the secret is in the puff pastry. And the Portuguese-imported, tart-specific oven with customised chamber sizes and a necessary 400-degrees-Celsius capability (most Australian ovens max out around 250).
Certain expectations come with a one-item menu. Tarts are baked and sold on the same day, without exception; and Alemao is cutthroat when it comes to inconsistencies: duds go in the bin.
Pair your tart(s) with a locally roasted Segafredo coffee poured from a top-of-the-range, multi-boiler La San Marco machine.