June is shaping up to be a great month for Victorians as COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax, meaning that restaurants and cafes can reopen to dine-in customers. Alongside this, Melbourne is getting a dedicated Portuguese Tart store in June, making it an exciting month indeed.
Casa Nata doesn’t have a confirmed opening date yet, but Broadsheet reported the new Thornbury store is expected to open next month when eateries start to reopen. It has been a long, hard slog for owners Ruben Bertolo and Nelson Coutinho, dogged by equipment and fit-out issues – not to mention a surprise pandemic bringing the world to its knees.
Locals are already be familiar with the authentic Portuguese tarts made by Casa Nata, which have been sold at the Queen Victoria Market.
While Portuguese tarts are a café staple in Melbourne, the golden, crunchy pastry, custard that’s black on top from time caramelising in the oven, but still gooey, soft and silky on the inside tarts produced by Casa Nata are on a whole new level.
They say that the keys to their “heavenly” tarts are technique and quality ingredients, which they source from both Australia and traditional products from Portugal to bring their customers authentic tarts.
While neither Bertolo nor Coutinho comes from a baking background (Bertolo runs a painting business and Coutinho has a repair shop) both are of Portuguese descent and lifelong Portuguese tart – or pastéis de nata – lovers.
In 2017 the duo made a trip to Portugal, where traditional Portuguese pastry chefs taught them tart-making techniques. The success of their pop-up at the Queen Victoria Market convinced them to open a permanent store.