There's something distinctly nostalgic about Nata Portuguese Bakery, despite the fact it's Auckland's very first taste of Portuguese fare and it's only been in operation for a little more than three months.
Propped on the bustling corner of Auckland's Symonds Street, staring out to Grafton Bridge, you'll find Pedro, crafting authentic Portuguese treats and serving locals otherwise devoid.
To the uninitiated, pastel de nata literally translates to "custard or cream tart". Pedro says he's starting small, treat by treat, in a bid to "wean the locals" on to the traditional Portuguese baked goods that remind him of home.
"After my wife Bruna and I moved here, a little over two years ago, we noticed that the bread in New Zealand was not that great, whereas the bread in Portugal is very good. So, I decided to drop my IT job and went back to Portugal, I stayed there for three months and learned how to bake."
The rest, it seems, is history. While the sweet offerings at Nata may be numbered, they're oozing with authenticity and crafted with care. The homemade sourdough is everything you hope it would be; the tarts, traditional, right down to the very last flaky, cinnamon-dusted bite.
"The Portuguese community in Auckland is pretty small, there's around 400 people I think," Pedro says. "Some places in Portugal will only make the Portuguese tart. There's a place called Belem that are very good at it, they call theirs the 'Pasteis de Belem' instead of 'Portuguese tart'. They turn around about 20,000 a day, so that's a lot."
Nata are not trying to reinvent Portuguese fare for the Kiwi palette, they're simply bringing a little slice of home back with them. The flaky tart – sweet, eggy and subtle – is a breakfast staple for many locals.
Other offerings? "Queijada, they are much sweeter than the Portuguese tart. With our coconut bun, we use brioche dough, but not too sweet. People in New Zealand do love coconut."
Nata also boast gorgeously fluffy meringues, something we're already well-acquainted with.
"I suppose meringues aren't very Portuguese, but at home we make them oversized. Light and fluffy in the inside, crisp on the outside. Then I dust them with cinnamon. Portuguese people generally love to eat, with friends, we're always eating. I'm from Lisbon, I would ride my bicycle into town to buy tarts, a couple of boxes. Riding back home they would start to disappear because I would eat all of them.
"New Zealand is a pretty new country, they're still finding their identity with food. Everybody's from somewhere, you could find all kinds of food here, you can find almost everything. But you could not find Portuguese, so this is the first one."
As long as the pastel de nata are plentiful, there's room for many more.
Nata Portuguese Bakery
5/103 Symonds St,
Auckland, New Zealand
Monday to Sunday: 7am - 6pm