Sweet Belem

Sweet Belem


I’ve been wielding a camera around food in public places for a year and a half now and never really had anything more than a curious glance, a giggle or a bit of whispering from other diners. When something looks delicious – or not – does it not deserve to be photographed?

Only once have I been asked not to photograph food, and that was in China at the Ramada Plaza Hotel buffet in Yiwu. The chefs pretty much gave me the same looks (shock, horror & disbelief) as I did when I’d see many of the locals hoik their saliva wherever they pleased. However they didn’t seem to mind me photographing my food at the table; it was just the buffet they were concerned about.

It was only a matter of time, here in Sydney.



We decided to head out to Petersham, with it’s enclave of Portuguese restaurants, grills and bakeries. I always heard Sweet Belem made the best custard tarts you could get your lips around, so that’s where we decided to grab a coffee and something sweet.

It’s a fairly cute little place with polished floorboards, Portuguese pictures all over the walls, uncomfortable metal chairs and air dripping in sugary scents.



The cafe was pretty quiet so our coffees and cakes come out in no time, as did the camera. Click. I couldn’t resist. The cake display cabinet has a tray of baked custard tarts in it, fresh out of the oven. They were screaming to be photographed! Click.

“excuse me, no photo’s”

….. says the lady behind the counter. No hostility, just a polite request.

Easy. Camera goes back into the bag and I go back to my coffee and orange roulade (4), which happens to be delicious. The roulade, that is, not the coffee. The latter lacks a bit of grunt.

I’ve never had a Portuguese custard tart fresh out of the oven and I’m not sure I like it as much as one that has cooled to room temp. Hot egg custard just doesn’t thrill me. While I’m not convinced the custard tart is the best in Australia, as Belem claims, it is very good and is nice with the dusting of ground cinnamon.

Before we left we grabbed a couple of things to take home for later – one more custard tart (3) and one of the custard plats (3). At least I know there’s nobody at home that will ask me to stop photographing them there. I’ll just be told to hurry up!

  • Sweet Belem
  • 35B & 35C New Canterbury Road
  • Petersham 2049
  • 9572 6685
  • Sweet Belem on Urbanspoon
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