For the uninitiated, a pastel is a South American staple that is essentially a stuffed pastry deep-fried until crispy. So popular is the modest street food that pastels are one of the most common fast food items in Brazil with street vendors slinging a drool-worthy selection of golden parcels on every corner. Thankfully, you needn’t go the effort and expense of boarding a plane to wrap your mitts around this culinary delight, as Pastel & Bossa is here to quell your craving without having to leave the GC. Nestled in the unassuming row of shops fronting the Gold Coast Highway in Mermaid Beach, it’s entirely likely you will smell Pastel & Bossa before you see it. An alluring aroma of fragrant spices drifts out from the open bar and kitchen piquing the interest of passers-by. The emerald-hued neighbourhood noshery is the handiwork of Murilo Nogueira and Lucas Nogaroto, who are on a mission to spread the Brazilian foodstuff far and wide with a sister venue in Surfers Paradise, a food truck rolling around various weekend markets plus a few new pastelarias in the works.
Before we delve into the array of fillings on offer, let’s take a moment to appreciate the dough. Unlike regular pastry, pastel dough is super-light so it doesn’t soak up the oil during frying. The end result is deliciously crispy and deeply satisfying. The pastels are available in either sweet or savoury combinations. Savoury folk can wrap their mitts around the venue’s speciality, the chicken and catupiry, which is a flavour bomb of spices, shredded chicken, corn and gooey housemade cream cheese (catupiry). Those with a sweet tooth can bite into a banana and dulce de leche (housemade caramel) tossed with cinnamon and sugar. Before you go thinking Pastel & Bossa is a one-trick pony, it’s not. Come 5:00 pm, there’s also a tempting array of Brazilian-style pizzas on offer. Keep it simple with a classic Margherita or, if you have an appetite for adventure, try the Portuguesa (housemade sauce, mozzarella, ham, onions, boiled eggs, green olives and oregano) or the carne seca and catupiry (housemade sauce, pulled salty meat, mozzarella and catupiry). Can’t decide? Go half and half. There is one thing you should know about Brazilian-style pizza though. While we’ve come to expect a refined scattering of toppings, Pastel & Bossa is heavy-handed when it comes to toppings and flavour, so you can comfortably share one 35 cm pizza between two people. Rounding out Pastel & Bossa’s offering is a succinct selection of housemade cocktails, beers and wines. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the ‘Bossa’ in Pastel & Bossa is a reference to Bossa nova, a style of samba developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Rio de Janeiro.