After hearing many a story told by my colleagues of Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tarts I decided I absolutely had to try. Unfortunately for my wallet and my HbA1c, I was sidetracked into getting quite a bit more than just a few tarts.
First things first. The Portuguese Tart. Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tart is not quite the tart that I grew up with. One of my best friends throughout high school (co-incidentally the one I ate at Din Tai Fung with eight years ago) was a little bit fancy, and would often get Portuguese tarts at the school canteen, never settling for a mere custard tart. On the odd occasion where he and I would partake in such opulent pleasures together I would find a soft, multilayered puff pastry crust around an eggy, custardy filling. For the longest time this is what I thought a Portuguese Tart was meant to be.
Sweet Belem changed my mind. As the benchmark for Portuguese Tarts, what Sweet Belem delivered was much different to my youthful experiences. The crust was flaky, hard, and crispy, made up of layers upon layers of pastry. The filling, caked in cinnamon, had a sweeter but also more complex flavour than any tart I had in high school or in the many years since. This is something you’ll definitely want to try for yourself.
And now for a brief description of some of the other baked goods I had. These are not labelled but I think you can figure it out.
Pineapple cake ($5.50) – NOT your Chinese style pineapple cake. Literally a pineapple slice on top. Soaked in sweet syrup. I didn’t like it
Baked chocolate tart ($4)- Enjoyed by my partner. Not too sweet.
Almond tart – Pretty good!
Egg and almond croissant ($4) – I actually really liked this, especially the parts with the eggy custard filling. A recommendation.
I liked Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tarts, and I think that if you’re in the local area they’re definitely worth a visit. Their other baked goods (even the excellent almond and egg croissant) range from middling to good but aren’t worth making a separate trip.