Tucked away down a quiet residential street on the eastern edge of Cambridge, UK is a small bakery initially established in 1868. Reopened in 2012, the aptly named Norfolk Street Bakery offers a brilliant and delicious display of baked goods from breads to pastries, all prepared fresh daily and in house. While the bread is lovely, it’s the tradition Portuguese offerings that drew us in and kept us coming to the Bakery.
From rissois to broa de milho, the savory offerings are outstandingly authentic. And the sweet treats don't disappoint: custard filled pasteis de nata have the blackened surface and crisped pastry we demand from these iconic Portuguese pastries and quejadas de leite offer sticky, bouncy, milky sweetness that’s downright addictive. The Portuguese treats at The Norfolk Street Bakery reminded us of home as we settled into the drizzling landscape of eastern England. While the effect on our waistlines was less than ideal, our psyches were all the better for savoring their perfect pastries on an arguably too regular basis!
The interior of the Bakery is effortlessly simple and it’s the untainted sincerity that makes the shop feel like a home away from home. Walking in you are met with long butcher block counters, framed by elegant white walls. The menu boards are set atop the mantle of a dark original fireplace which adds to the intimacy, making us feel like we are being served tea and sweets in someones loving living room rather than commercial cafe. A single table offers a place to rest but the space is a bit too small to comfortably settle into a longer stay. The second location closer to Cambridge Station lacks a bit of the charm so we highly recommend finding your way to the original white painted brick building on Norfolk Street.
We do want to share a quick story about our experience at the Bakery. Several members of our team are Portuguese and, not surprisingly, were the first to discover this Cambridge gem and eagerly raved about the phenomenal food and welcoming staff. However, when they brought a non-Portuguese coworker with them to explore the offerings further, the staff at The Norfolk Street Bakery was as gregarious as on previous days towards our Portuguese team but completely ignored the new addition to the group. We are confident no malice was intended and no offense was taken; we actually found it really endearing and oddly on par with our Portuguese experiences in other parts of the world! No one has every been anything short of kind so consider this occasional difference in treatment as added authenticity!