It’s 7am on a warm summer morning in Adelaide and I’ve just had the best Portuguese custard tart I’ve ever tasted.
Freshly baked in a wood-fired oven, the sweet delicate puff pastry is filled with a light custard and the residual sugars are toasted black and perfectly caramelised on the outside.
Standing at his street cart coffee machine, Barista Miguel Sa says his mother Rosa prepared the tarts less than an hour before.
“Part of Mum’s secret is she makes the custard the night before and lets it rest,” he says. The result: an even more authentic pastel de nata.
What makes the experience even more special is the tarts and coffee aren’t the main game for the Sa family who transplanted from Portugal during the GFC.
The cart sits outside the new Lady Burra Brewhouse in Adelaide where co-owner Miguel and his business partners have created the CBD’s first microbrewery.
Inside, Sa’s parents Rosa and Gaspar look after the kitchen serving authentic Portuguese cuisine to accompany the Lady Burra brews crafted by Taylor Cox.
A former schoolteacher, Cox honed his craft for over 15 years at a number of microbreweries in Norway and Melbourne before joining Lady Burra Brewhouse last year.
His philosophy revolves around taking his time in the brewing process and concentrating on the natural ingredients in each beer.
At present those natural ingredients include locally sourced hops and malts which are brewed to create a number of year round varieties as well as a seasonal ale.
This summer, it’s a Golden Ale brewed with ale, pilsner, Vienna and wheat malts. I had sampled a few beers the night before with a highlight being the Pilsner brewed with European malts and German hops delivering a crisp and refreshing fruit-filled flavour.
Situated on the city’s Topham Mall, the modern fitout includes reclaimed timber from a Moonta Bay jetty and copper piping and fittings in a nod to the South Australian town of Burra and its copper mining heritage. At the back of the bar and open kitchen behind a glass wall lies the brewhouse where Cox works his magic.
As for the mysterious Lady Burra, there’s a large mural by local street artist Vans the Omega depicting her on an outside wall.
Interestingly, a woman known as Lady Burra (Elizabeth Woolcock) was once a Moonta local.
She led an extraordinarily eventful life flitting from one misfortune to another before she was unfortunately tried and wrongfully hanged for the murder of her vicious husband Thomas in the 19th century.
It’s not really a story that’s top of mind as you enjoy the Sa family hospitality while imbibing one of Cox’s refreshing ales.
Close to the bar and restaurant hub of Peel and Leigh Streets, Lady Burra Brewhouse adds further personality to one of the nation’s quirkier inner city precincts.
Lady Burra Brewhouse 4 Topham Mall, Adelaide (08) 8410 7608