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I Love Nata (CLOSED)

  • Restaurants
  • Covent Garden
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Rob Greig

Time Out Says

4 out of 5 stars

A tiny café selling only coffee and pastéis de nata, Portuguese custard tarts.

How do you say ‘guts’ in Portuguese? Whatever the word is, you need a lot of it to open a café that sells just two core products.
The main product at I Love Nata is pastéis de nata, the little custard tarts in puff pastry cases which are not just Portugal’s most famous sweet creation, but one of its greatest dishes of any kind. Invented in a Lisbon monastery in (probably) the 17th century to use up surplus egg yolks, they have now become a standard sweet and a favourite companion for bica, the Portuguese equivalent of espresso. 
Very simple things are often difficult to make perfectly. The company behind I Love Nata has figured it out. Their pastéis are assembled elsewhere and baked daily in this dinky little café. The puff pastry is light, flaky, and profoundly buttery. The filling is runny (much better than the common stiffly-set version) and a rich yellow. If you don’t lick it off your fingers, you’re a model of self-restraint.
The tarts are sold for consumption on the premises or for takeaway. There’s a discount if you buy four or more – for example, £7.45 for four as opposed to £1.95 for a single tart. If you’re buying them to take away, I strongly advise that you buy just one. If you buy four, you will fight against the temptation to eat them all yourself. And temptation is probably going to win.
Hang on, did I say I Love Nata sells two products? Oh yes. It sells coffees (lattes, cappuccinos, etc) made from Delta, one of Portugal’s big roasters. The coffee is bica-like in style: sweeter, larger, and less intense than espresso.
But you’ll hardly notice that, because you’re going to be so busy hoovering up your tarts.
Written by Richard Ehrlich


61 Endell Street
Tube: Covent Garden
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