When Joe Rocha started Lisboa Caffe in 2015, the initial plan was to open a cafe (hence the name). But the popularity of his Portuguese tarts took off and he became too busy selling his crispy custard-filled tarts at markets and providing wholesale around town. Finally, his six-year dream was realised when Lisboa Caffe opened Brisbane’s first dedicated Portuguese tart cafe in April 2022.
For those who haven’t experienced a Lisboa Caffe pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tart) before, the shell is made from a Pepe Saya cultured butter puff pastry. It’s filled with custard and baked in an extremely hot oven (much hotter than what a domestic oven can achieve) to gain a slightly caramelised top with a silky, crème brulee-like filling. Rocha says 10 seconds can decide a great batch and a ruined one.
Rocha began making pastéis de nata at former food incubator turned restaurant and farm-gate Wandering Cooks. In 2017, he upgraded to his own production kitchen in Dutton Park, which he continues to use for the wholesale side of the business. The cafe churns out small batches of pastéis de nata and other baked goods such as seasonal tarts, breads and other Portuguese desserts. You’ll be able to see the whole process from start to finish.
The cafe is in the former space of Only Specialty Coffee in Hope Street, right next to El Planta (another former Wandering Cooks start-up). Expect a modern fit-out with Portuguese influences, plus inside and outside seats.
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