Universal Bakery is an East side Portuguese bake shop located on Rupert Street, just off 22nd Avenue. They make a variety of pastries and breads, but are well known for their egg tarts — pastel de nata — as well as their bird’s nest cookies.
The bakery is spacious with bare walls, cluttered shelves. Overall it’s uninteresting and not much to look at. On display are cookies, tarts, breads and a shelf of random grocery items.
(Above: Pastal del natas — Baked portuguese egg tarts.)
We are here for the pastel de natas — a Portugese egg tart with caramelized creme brulee like consistency. Its dark, golden, flaky crust is puffy and is a perfect vessel for the sweet, egg custard filling. The filling is more dense than the Chinese variety, but the texture is reminiscent of a Vietnamese tapioca dessert. The scorched custard also finishes with a candy-like stickiness with each bite.
Universal Bakery’s bird’s nest cookies is a light, flakey, coconut shortbread cookie with fruit preserves. They’re rich, buttery and crumbly, and pair perfectly with a good cup of Americano. Tre and I both agree Universal makes the best bird’s nest cookies we’ve tried so far.
(Above: Bird’s nest cookies — a light, flakey shortbread cookie topped with fruit preserves.)
Our bill for four pastel de natas, two bird nest cookies and taxes came to just under $7 — a reasonable amount that’s brought us back numerous times. And we’ve have yet to be disappointed. The pastel de natas are located in the back, so you might have to ask for them if you don’t see any. The service here doesn’t seem to match their quality of baking, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from hunting down some egg tarts.
Perfect for: Portuguese baked treats.
3815 Rupert Street, Vancouver