Portugal’s mighty pastel de nata has been recreated in hotcake form – bathed in a Portuguese-tart custard, and topped with crumbled pastry, cinnamon, apple, vanilla and ice-cream – at Lunas, a cafe in Petersham from the owners of Portuguese staple Sweet Belem and excellent seafood diner Fich.
When they were planning Lunas, business- and life-partners Jose (ex-Guillaume Brahimi Bennelong) and Basia Silva knew they wanted to create brunches and lunches that people love – but with a Portuguese twist.
They’ve certainly achieved their mission. A savoury alternative to hotcakes is the scrambled eggs laced with chouriço (Portuguese-style chorizo). It’s served on house-made toast smeared with sobrassada butter (sobrassada is a fermented Spanish sausage from Majorca, turned into a ’nduja-like paste, according to Jose). Sprinkled on top are parsley, coriander and gordal olives, aka queen olives, native to Andalucia, in Spain’s sunny south.
Meanwhile, favourites on the lunchtime menu might include the sardines on toast, octopus and, of course, the chicken burger – a food closely associated with Petersham’s Portuguese dining scene. The sardines might be pan-fried, then rested on broa – a Portuguese cornbread made here according to Jose’s grandmother’s recipe – and served with coriander, tomato, puffed rice and house-made molho verde (onion pickled in aged red-wine vinegar, coriander and parsley).
Lunas, which is named after the Silvas’ daughter, is on a sunny corner on Stanmore Road. Jose designed the space to be “old and raw”, but new. Heritage elements, such as the original door, are offset with benches handcrafted from recycled timber, polished concrete and forest-green walls. Large picture windows let in plenty of light and calming views of the leafy grounds of the All Saints Church across the road.
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