8:00 PM July 14 2022
There’s a spicy new addition to the Beach Street family in Felixstowe. Combined with huge wedges of American-style pizza, juicy mashed burgers, pancakes, Vietnamese food, vegan desserts, and smoked beef buns, you can now get sliced about a tiny slice of Mexico.
Chef Paul McCarthy, who spent nearly two decades cooking in Melbourne after starting his career in London and then in Brighton, opened Winkles Seafood in Felixstowe two years ago… just before the pandemic, forcing it to close.
In search of a new direction, he touched the base of Beach Street, saw an opportunity to do something different, grabbed it with both hands, and recently opened Carnitas Taqueria. And clients (Mexicans and those who have been to the country) have told him they really like what he does.
“I take a slightly different approach to Mexican food,” says Paul. “I use my French techniques to get the best flavor in every bite. I whip up the meat, and I make sauces that are a little less messy…but you still have to eat everything with your hands!”
Most dishes are deliberately tamed for the British palate, with takeaway diners (tucked into a new part of the street food setting, opposite Hobster) encouraged to ‘bring in the heat’ by sprinkling one of Paul’s seasonings.
The entire menu (except for the burritos) is gluten-free and made from scratch, with a heavy focus on tacos and nachos.
“One of my favorite tacos is beef barbacoa. In Mexico, this is made literally from the head of a cow, suspended in a saucepan of beer and spices and slow cooked for a few days.”
Toss… Paul doesn’t use a cow’s head. Instead, opt for the fine brisket and chuck, which are braised overnight, pulled, and glazed with all the cooking juices, beer, spices, herbs, onions, garlic, and chili peppers, and cooked in an unseasoned, more flavorful mixture to be put on Layers of corn nachos or folded into soft corn tacos. “It’s like a Mexican roast dinner. That’s the best way to describe it.”
Another filling is red pork. This is a pork collar marinated in the “famous” Paul rub, slow-cooked, pulled and mixed with a mole sauce of ancho, chili, lots of spices, tomatoes, dark chocolate and nuts.
Chicken is given a similar treatment, with more tomatoes and turmeric added, and there is a vegan version made with slowly roasted vegetables.
“They can all be served as nachos too. I fry the tortillas and top with queso cheese sauce, onions, chili, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream.”
With the heat wave in full swing, you’ll need something cool on the side of all those spices. “We have Garritos drinks in four flavours. Lemon, pineapple, tangerine and mango. Paul adds. “I’ve tried to stay away from the usual sugary drinks, and these ones go perfectly with my food – especially lemon.”
Carnitas Taqueria is open 12 noon to late Wednesday through Sunday.