"How about a Petersham food tour?" I suggested. Laura and I were discussing where we should go on our next food adventure. Loading up the car with ice bricks and cooler bags we head towards the inner west of Sydney to the suburb of Petersham or Little Portugal to feast on the delicious offerings that the suburb has to offer.
From wonderful Pasteis de Nata or Portuguese Custard Tarts, a restaurant serving traditional Portuguese fare, buying Portuguese tinned fish and Vino Verde or sparkling green wine to a Portuguese butcher shop there's plenty to eat and do!
The music is pumping and Eye Of The Tiger is playing as we make our way from Potts Point to Petersham on this sunny Saturday. We decided on Petersham because we all loved Portugal. Mr NQN and I had visited last year and after reading my Portugal stories, Laura visited a few months later! This was a list recommended to me by Portuguese pastry chef and chocolatier Joao Cadete.
Our first stop and a must visit in Petersham is Sweet Belem to try some of their famous custard tarts. These custard tarts have a crispy buttery base and a light egg custard top. It's hard to stop at one. The best time to visit is at 9am or when they open as they sell out but you can call ahead to reserve tarts. For a more detailed look into Sweet Belem, check out my story on them here.
For good measure we also try a blueberry version, a chocolate tart, a pear and custard pastry and a baked custard made of the Portuguese custard filling but without the pastry. I also buy some of the bread rolls that make for fantastic toasted cheese and chorizo rolls.
The Jesuita has a rich, smooth egg cream made with syrup and egg yolks and this egg cream also fills the Bao de Berliners or light yeasted donuts.
Sweet Belem: 35B New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049 Phone: (02) 9572 6685 Open: Monday to Saturday 8:30am-5pm, Sunday 9am-4pm
Before they close we have to stop by one.more chocolates, one of my favourite chocolatiers in Sydney. I adore their passion fruit chocolates and had to pick up some gifts for friends too. Laura buys chocolates for her boyfriend and mother.
One.more chocolates: Shop 3, 94 Audley St Petersham, NSW, 2049. Located at the rear of the building in the joining of Abels Lane and Sadlier Cresent. Open Saturday 9am-1pm. Also online.
Everyone knows Frango's for takeaway Portuguese chicken but did you know that there's an upstairs area? Chef Joao Cadete from One.more and Sweet Belem recommended dining in the upstairs restaurant to me and says that it is like being back in Portugal. Indeed, as we walk up the stairs past the crowds waiting for their grilled chicken it does bring back that familiar vibe.
Arros de Marisco $27
My favourite dish is the Arroz de Marisco which is a rice paired with plenty of seafood from tiny but meaty clams, prawns, king prawns, fish and enormous mussels with a garlicky parsley sauce and olive oil. There's just enough rice here so that it nestles in the crevices of the seafood shells.
Half Portuguese Chicken $12
The half chicken is juicy and succulent with plenty of flavour and great dipped in the chilli sauce and mayonnaise. The chips could be a bit hotter but that doesn't stop me from eating some.
Carne de Porco a Alentejana $25
I also love the pork and clams Alentejana that has a rich sauce and tender pork cubes and potato cubes. It takes me back to our time eating black pork in Monchique, a gorgeous Portuguese mountain town.
Bacalaua a Casa $28
Our waiter was lovely but there was some confusion with Laura's capsicum allergy (it's a long story, I'll tell you about it one day) and he took it upon himself to change our order for us. We actually wanted the tomato based bacalau because it can be a strongly flavoured fish and the tomato would balance it. This is the bacalau or dried cod fish with garlic and parsley sauce and served with sliced potatoes. The bacalu flavour is strong and you do really have to like bacalau to have it like this but the crispy enormous potato chips are fantastic.
Frango's: 98 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049. Monday to Saturday 10am–9pm, Sunday 10am–8pm. Phone: (02) 9560 2369
Just nearby at Charlie's Deli you can pick up a range of Portuguese and Brazilian deli items. I buy some Pacoquinha or Brazilian peanut candy as well as some tinned fish.
Tinned fish in Portugal isn't like a tin of tuna here. They're known for their canning of anything from stuffed squid, mackerel, needlefish and sardines. All you need is some fresh sourdough and you have the makings of a delicious snack or light lunch.
You can also buy bacalau here and they can cut it to size that you want. People can also buy the terracotta pots for cooking as well as regional delicacies like Alheira sausage and Piri Piri sauce.
Charlie's Deli: 37 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049. Monday to Friday 8:30am–5:30pm, Saturday 8:30am–4:30pm and Sunday 9am–12:30pm. Phone: (02) 9560 4037
Petersham Liquor Mart
Right next to Charlie's Deli is Petersham Liquor Mart where we stop in to buy some wine. Coco the cat sits atop a pile of boxes contentedly. We make a beeline to the left side of the store where there is a selection of Portuguese Vinho Verde, a lightly sparkling Portuguese "green" wine aka a young wine bottled at 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested.
We buy a couple of bottles based on recommendations by João. The first is an Alvarinho by Conde Villar white and a Trinca Bolotas Alentejo Red from 2015 that are both excellent choices.
Petersham Liquor Mart: 41/43 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049. Monday to Thursday 10am–8pm, Friday & Saturday 9am–8:30pm, Sunday 10am–6pm. Phone: (02) 9560 2414
Talho Spanish Portuguese Butchery
Our last stop is at the colourfully decked out butcher where we buy a ring of cured chorizo as well as fresh Brazilian and Portuguese sausages.
The gentleman behind the counter takes a jamon hanging off the hook and comes around and hands it to me. I'm thinking "Laura, did you order a whole jamon?" in my head but he just smiles and instructs Laura to take a photo of me holding it.
He then says, "You have to promise to come back in a month when the ham is ready,". "We promise!" we say in unison.
Spanish Portuguese Butchery: 83 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham NSW 2049. Monday to Friday 8am–7pm, Saturday 6am–6pm, Sunday 9am–2pm. Phone: (02) 9569 3573
So tell me Dear Reader, which stop interested you the most? Do you like Portuguese food?
These meals were all independently paid for.