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Glasgow’s west end in line for a sweet treat as local entrepreneurs launch Portuguese-style bakery

Sebastian Bacewicz and Emma Airley

GLASGOW’S west end will be home to Scotland’s first specialist Pastelaria – a Portuguese Pastel de Nata bakery – this week, as an entrepreneurial couple open up their new shop on Byres Road.

Emma Airley and Sebastian Bacewicz will launch Pastéis Lisboa tomorrow (Thursday 11 August), making up to 1,200 tarts from scratch every day using an award-winning Portuguese recipe. The theatre of the baking process will be on display for customers to watch in the shop’s glassed-in bakery.

The couple received a £40,000 loan from Transmit Start-Ups through the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme to turn their business idea into reality.

The couple have also developed a vegan version of the famous custard tarts in conjunction with a fifth generation Portuguese patisserie chef, and will be introducing seasonal flavour variations to the menu. 

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The shop will also include an Iberian-themed deli, where shoppers can buy a range of premium cured meats, cheeses, seafood and other delicacies from Portugal and Spain, along with craft sodas and fresh juices, small batch coffees, fresh bread from Freedom Bakery and handmade sandwiches made from Scottish ingredients.

Free samples of Pastéis de Nata will be handed out to West End locals over the next few days as Pastéis Lisboa prepares to open, with the owners promising they will be better than any Portuguese tarts they have tried in the UK before.  

Emma said: “What we’re launching is a unique concept to Scotland – in fact, there is nothing like it beyond London. While many people will have tried a Pastel de Nata before, they most likely won’t have had a fresh one made with fresh, high-quality ingredients to an authentic, traditional recipe. We specifically went to the people who made the best Pastéis de Nata in Lisbon and learned the art of making these delicious treats during frequent trips there over the last four years.”

“Glaswegians are known for having a sweet tooth and we are absolutely convinced they will go down a storm – the tarts are already familiar to many people, yet new to Scotland at this level of quality. Pastéis Lisboa will be the only place in the UK where you can try this authentic, artisan recipe. All the products we plan on selling will be unique, with really interesting background stories, and their provenance is incredibly important to us – we know all of our independent suppliers well.”

Pastéis Lisboa is Emma and Sebastian’s latest business venture. In 2015, the couple also launched Ciora Scotland, an e-commerce supplier of handmade sheepskin and wool products, ranging from slippers and sock, to rugs, bedding and other homewares.

The couple said that their intention is to look at multiple locations once the first bakery is up and running, with plans to open in Edinburgh next year. They also intend to offer catering services for offices and private events, and wholesale supply.

Emma, whose family have been in the hospitality industry since the 1950s, added: “With Ciora well established, we’re hugely excited to be realising a long-held dream of opening our own unique food business – we both have a passion for food and cooking.  We started planning Pastéis Lisboa five years ago after being inspired by the new wave of modern Pastelarias in Lisbon, and seeing how successfully the model worked in other international markets. We think it’s perfect for Glasgow and will fit really well into the market right now.”

Pastéis Lisboa is one of more than 800 businesses in Glasgow to have received over £7 million in funding from the Start Up Loans programme since the scheme launched in 2012.

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network – Scotland at the British Business Bank, said: “The Start Up Loans initiative was designed to enable entrepreneurs like Emma and Sebastian to access funding through alternative avenues, helping local businesses to thrive. Pastéis Lisboa is a great example of how an entrepreneurial couple’s great idea for something unique in their local area can become a reality with the right support, including a range of resources provided through our network of delivery partners to help with business plans, accounting, marketing and more.”

Sid Kochar, Emma and Sebastian’s Business Adviser at Transmit Startups, said: “Emma and Sebastian are both successful entrepreneurs and it’s incredibly exciting to see them pouring their passion and experience into this new venture. I loved working with them through the application process and I was especially impressed by the level of research they’d carried out to scope out their business idea. We can’t wait to see the impact of the support and where it will take the couple and their team in the future.”

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