There’s a custard tart
factory in the Market
Ding, ding, ding! As if to confirm that Lisbon’s best pastéis de nata can now be bought at the Time Out Market, a bell rings every time a batch comes out of the oven – several times a day. The small but bustling Manteigaria on the corner of Largo de Camões, in Chiado, now has a larger outlet in the Mercado da Ribeira – which means that there are even more warm pastéis de nata coming out of its ovens (yippee!). Expansion was not part of the plans of store owner, Aristides da Rocha Vieira, but the invitation from Time Out Market to open another outlet here was just too appealing. Despite its larger size, he guarantees that production remains artisanal, not least because that is the secret of these tarts’ success. In contrast to many pastéis de nata to be found around town, the formula here is very simple and does not need to be locked up away from prying eyes. There are two key elements: the quality of the ingredients used – whole eggs, proper butter rather than margarine, plenty of sugar, and no preservatives – and the process by which the flaky pastry is kneaded and folded by hand, which requires several months’ training to learn properly. There are also other details such as the number of times and the right moments for the oven to be opened during baking. The result is a crispy, crunchy case and a cream filling with just the right amount of sugar – sending Time Out head over heels in love with these tarts and pushing Manteigaria up to the top spot on on Tripadvisor among places in Lisbon for pastéis de nata. The proof that there is no secret ingredient involved is that the tarts are made in full view of anyone who wants to see how it is done. The new outlet has two entrances: one opening into the Time Out Market food hall and the other on Avenida 24 de Julho. From both sides you can buy tarts singly (€1) or in boxes of six (€6), to eat on the spot or to take away. And although the place only sells one type of pastry, it does also serve cappuccinos and bicas (espressos) – which are what goes best with a pastel de nata. ‘Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata’ is next to the Time Out Academy and also opens onto Avenida 24 de Julho. Open daily 10am-midnight.