Sydney’s love affair with the Portuguese tart is the stuff of legends. The burnished custard tart with crumbling, flaked pastry casing is notoriously difficult to perfect, so when a cult favourite like Tuga Pastries announces an expansion into Alexandria, you’d do well to stop and listen.
It’s not uncommon that the Clovelly flagship patisserie has queues around the block of the tiny shopfront, punters eagerly waiting to grab a half dozen (or more, whatever floats your boat) of the tarts – Pastel de Nata in its mother tongue – which makes the news of the spacious, grassy new outlet all the more exciting. The Inner West edition is just under 400 square meters, a significant upgrade from the counter-only Clovelly shop that the team has quickly outgrown. “We needed more space, not only for production but storage for all of our ingredients, packaging, everything. It just became a nightmare operating out of a shoebox,” explains owner and tart maker, Diogo Ferreira.
Ferreira has taken the reins from his father, Agostinho Ferreira, who dedicated his life to recreating the perfect tarts of his childhood. The Alexandria outpost is baking both traditional and less conventional goods, all displayed in a huge glass counter and refreshed often throughout the day. Alongside Gila (flaky layers of pastry filled with custard and angel hair jam made from spaghetti squash), you’ll find the Tuga version of a Cubano sandwich, with ham, roasted pork, pickles and cheese. For every classic Portuguese treat of sweet coconut pudding, adorably named Mimo, or cuddles, is a modern classic of cronuts, cruffins and danishes. To wash it all down and perk you up, house-roasted coffee is available all day for dine-in and takeaway.