CREAMY pastries, eggs, almonds and custards – the culinary pleasures of Portugal seem to be top of the dessert menu these days.

The pastel de nata - the small, rich custard tart that is a Portuguese speciality – is currently all the rage, but it is only one of many Portuguese bakery delights. Now one Portuguese family has set up a shop and café in Swindon and is introducing the town to many more Portuguese treats.

Carlos and Isabel Simoes run Tastes of Portugal in The Crossing at the Brunel Centre. The couple moved to Britain in 2008, with their three children. They used to live in Lisbon, where Carlos worked in construction and once headed up a workforce of 1600 people. Carlos was badly injured in a factory accident in Salisbury in 2012, and had to stop work for a year, so they moved to Swindon in 2014 to be nearer other family members and decided to set up a shop in Swindon’s Tented Market.

“The idea was to bring our products and introduce them to the British people, and to provide the Portuguese with a space where it would feel like they were in Portugal,” Carlos said.

Unfortunately, just after they had heavily invested in the shop, the family learnt the Tented Market was going to close and although it would be two and a half years till that happened, they were obliged to set up all over again.

Carlos put his old construction skills to good use refitting the spacious unit in the Brunel’s new dining hub, dividing the space to have both a café and a shopping area.

“We did everything by ourselves,” he said.

Tastes of Portugal opened on November 18 last year and already it is proving popular with Swindon diners.

The café sells a range of snacks, pastries, cakes, drinks and desserts. You can try a Bifana pork roll, based on the traditional Portuguese sandwich filled with thin, marinated pork cutlets made from leg of pork, seasoned and friend. Soon they will also serve a traditional lemon and peri peri chicken, and a hog roast, served with fries.

A bakery display contains a host of tempting looking pastries such as the famous pastel de nata, which come directly from Portugal – though one day the couple hope to open their own bakery at the store.

You can also find other baked delicacies, such as the queijada de leite, a kind of lemony Portuguese cupcake, or the Xadres chess cake, like a Battenberg with chequers of chocolate and yellow sponge, the rice cake (which looks so much more delicious that the rice cakes we are familiar with) and the patas de vead – the deer hoof – made of sponge with egg, cream, coconut with cinnamon and named for its shape. There is also the bishop cake, made with coconut, and the circular intensely yellow quindim.

“In Portugal we have hundreds of different cakes,” Isabel said.

The café also stocks Portuguese favourite, Buondi coffee – which is also proving popular.

“Lots of English customers are saying they have never tasted coffee like it,” Carlos said. “We could not be more pleased. Not one person yet has said they were not happy.”

The grocery section sells a range of Portuguese speciality foods, with olive oil, flours, frozen fish and frozen pastries. While the café attracts many British customers, they say many Portuguese people use the shop for a taste of home.

But this is just the beginning: the couple have lots of ambition and ideas for extending the business and introducing Swindonians to new tastes of Portugal.

“We want people to be aware that we are here, and that we want to support the Swindon community,” he said. “Come and try the café.”

The family has not returned to Portugal for eight years and feel at home in Britain.

“My country is here,” Carlos said. “We saw what was possible. Here we can live and have a life.”

Isabel said she loved the British landscape: “I was born and raised on a farm. I used to help with the sheep and goats.”

The family is also hugely impressed by the National Health Service, after their son Joao, now 18, who was born with cerebral palsy, had an operation on his foot to help him walk properly.

“I have a debt of gratitude to the British people that I will never be able to repay. The operation was very successful, and completely changed his life and ours. We saw him walk normally for the first time,” Carlos said.

Tastes of Portugal at units 40-41 upstairs in the Brunel Centre is open every day of the week, from 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 10am to 4.30pm on Sunday.