Portuguese custard tarts and more at Padaria Prazeres

Just a few months old, Padaria Prazeres is an astounding bakery in Panjim that dishes up traditional custard tarts, moist Berliners, wholesome bagels, hot chocolate and more. 
Some of the delectable fare at padaria prazeres in panjim. Image: shraddha uchill
Some of the delectable fare at Padaria Prazeres in Panjim. Image: Shraddha Uchill

When you are heading to Padaria Prazeres, remember, walking in hungry is not enough. Pack an extra stomach. And a few sweet teeth. You’ll need them to taste all that is chalk written in a neat hand on the blackboard. Do not ask for the menu. There’s none. Pick things off the blackboard, wait in the 20-cover café/bakery and then suspend disbelief for the Berliners, Palmiers, bagels, baguettes, sandwiches, rarebit, cinnamon rolls. And, of course, the Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts) — that airy crunch of the flaky pastry and the custard curled inside it. Within that turmeric yellow & ink blue bakery/café, the tad onerous thing is the long name of the chef/owner: Jose Ralph De Fatima Gomes Prazeres. 

Don’t bother about the long name in the typical Portuguese tradition, though. Just call him Ralph, run through the shimmer on his resume, and eat dainties out of his hand. After a four-year degree in hospitality management from Lavasa (Pune), he zipped off to London gathering a degree from Le Cordon Bleu and earning his chef chops in the spiffy Rosewood Hotel and Clos Maggiore (both in Central London) and big brownie points in Noma (Copenhagen) and St John (London). Nearly seven years out of his home in Caranzalem (Goa), Ralph decided to return with his newly wed, Stacy Tara Gracias. Eight months ago, the two started Padaria Prazeres, barely a stone’s throw from Ralph’s parents’ elegant home. 

“Hospitality kinda runs in my DNA. My father runs two hotels in Goa and deep inside I knew I wanted to do something in the restaurant space. Initially, it was a blur. Bakery was not the first and only option. I picked up nuances of baking during my stint abroad but I am not a trained baker,” Ralph, in a navy blue apron, wipes a sweat and goes back to the decision to return home, the pandemic, and the first idea of a bakery that was shaky because of an appalling supply chain. 

Stacy and ralph prazeres, owners of padaria prazeres. Image: shraddha uchill
Stacy and Ralph Prazeres, owners of Padaria Prazeres. Image: Shraddha Uchill

When the first strokes of Padaria Prazeres were drawn, Ralph sent out a questionnaire to friends/family trying to gauge their baked preferences. The response was so varied that Ralph dropped them on the sidewalk and opened the pretty blue door with 10-12 things on the counter. Turning an entrepreneur was not the easiest of things but he learnt, one wrong bake at a time. Stacy, with finance stints in RBS, HSBC, Rothschild, etc, took over the books and streamlined the business. Ralph baked, Stacy billed and handled the till. 

The traditional portuguese custard tarts at padaria prazeres are to die for. Image: shraddha uchill
The traditional Portuguese custard tarts at Padaria Prazeres are to die for. Image: Shraddha Uchill

Now, Padaria has nearly 20 things to offer with coffee/hot chocolate to wash them down. The bread and doughs are made at night and everything else is baked fresh in the on-premises Padaria kitchen. A quick average everyday count being 70+ Pastéis de Nata; 80-100 Berliners; 30-40 bagels. Add to all these huge counts of cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, bread, buns, baguettes, and more. No second batch is made during the day; if something vanishes from the counter, wait another day. What’s left over is not wasted either. The breads turn into breadcrumbs, the egg whites into meringue and marshmallows that one can buy off the shelf. 

Padaria prazeres has a variety of breads, including focaccia. Image: shraddha uchill
Padaria Prazeres has a variety of breads, including focaccia. Image: Shraddha Uchill

“I am still not good at making bread. I have tried but I haven’t baked a perfect bread yet,” Ralph confesses. He is also working hard for the much sought-after croissants but is still waiting to perfect the buttery, flaky, viennoiserie pastry that everyone who walks into Padaria seeks. 

The poinsettias and the mistletoes lend a Christmas feel to the 75 square meters bakery/café that was designed by Bernadette Gomes, Ralph’s aunt. When the festive hullabaloo wanes, Ralph and Stacy want to expand the menu, especially the savoury headcount. Wait for the piped mushroom and cream Berliners, as well as peppermint/After Eight hot chocolate, white chocolate and turmeric latte, and smoothies. 

Colourful madeleines at padaria prazeres. Image: shraddha uchill
Colourful madeleines at Padaria Prazeres. Image: Shraddha Uchill

“I began by asking people what they’d want in a bakery. Now, I add to the menu what I’d like to eat when I step into a bakery,” Ralph admits. Perhaps what he likes is really good. The buzz around the bakery is proof enough. 

I had walked into Padaria around 2 pm when the sun was sharp and men and women walked in and out talking of brown sugar and cinnamon and the heavy whiff of bagel. I bit into a Pastéis de Nata and suspended disbelief. At Padaria Prazeres, you do that, too. 

Do not miss

Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts), Salmon cream cheese bagel, Roast chicken sandwich, Cheese & jalapeño Berliner, and Prawn cocktail sandwich served in a brioche bun.

Christmas menu

Berliners (white chocolate + raspberry, Bailey’s, After Eight), cinnamon rolls (glazed/unglazed); boozy fruit cake; gingerbread cookies; mini chocolate and raspberry fondant; fruit mince pies; hot chocolate with marshmallows; eggnog (traditional Christmas drink made with dairy, eggs and nutmeg). Valid until: January 10, 2022. 

Good to know 

Address: Shop G2, Models Celeste Plaza, Opposite Models Celebrity, Panjim, Goa

Phone: +91 93228 06130

Timings: Tuesday through Sunday. 9.30am – 6.30pm

Service options: Dine-in. Take away. No delivery.  

No smoking inside the café. Smoking permitted in outside seating

Read more. 

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