You can now get slow-cooked tacos and nachos on Felixstowe seafront
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
There’s a spicy new addition to the Beach Street family in Felixstowe. Alongside huge wedges of American-style pizza, juicy smashed burgers, waffles, Vietnamese food, vegan treats and smoked beef buns, you can now get your chops around a little slice of Mexico.
Chef Paul McCarthy, who spent nearly two decades cooking in Melbourne after beginning his career in London and then Brighton, opened Winkles Seafood in Felixstowe a couple of years ago...just before the pandemic, which forced him to close.
Looking for a new direction, he touched base with Beach Street, saw an opportunity to do something different, and grabbed it with both hands, opening Carnitas Taqueria recently. And customers (both Mexican, and those who’ve visited the country) have told him they really love what he’s doing.
“I take a slightly different approach to Mexican food,” says Paul. “I use my French techniques to get the most flavour into every bite. I confit the meat, and make sauces that are slightly less messy...but you still have to eat everything with your hands!”
Most dishes are deliberately tamed for the British palate, with diners from the takeaway (tucked into a new part of the street food setting, opposite Hopsters) encouraged to ‘bring the heat’ by sprinkling over one of Paul’s condiments.
The entire menu (except burritos) is gluten-free and made from scratch, focussing largely on tacos and nachos.
“One of my favourite tacos is the beef barbacoa. In Mexico that would literally be made from the head of the cow, stuck in a pot with beer and spices and slow-cooked for a couple of days.”
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Erm...Paul doesn’t use a cow’s head. Instead choosing prime brisket and chuck, which is cooked overnight, pulled, married up with all its cooking juices, beer, spices, herbs, onions, garlic and chillies, and cooked down into an unctuous, moreish concoction to be layered over corn nachos or tucked into soft corn tacos. “It’s like a Mexican roast dinner. That’s the best way of describing it,” he beams.
Another filling is red mole pork. That’s pork collar marinated in Paul’s ‘famous’ rub, cooked slowly, pulled, and combined with a mole sauce of ancho and chipotle chillies, lots of spices, tomatoes, dark chocolate and nuts.
Chicken is given a similar treatment, with more tomatoes and turmeric added, and there’s a veggie version, made from slow-roasted vegetables.
“They can all be served as nachos too. I fry off the tortillas and top them with queso cheese sauce, onions, chillies, tomatoes, guacamole and chive sour cream.”
With a heatwave in full swing, you’ll need something cooling on the side of all that spice. “We have Jarritos drinks in four flavours. Lime, pineapple, mandarin and mango. They’re really good,” adds Paul. “I’ve tried to move away from the usual sugary drinks, and these go very well with my food – especially the lime one.”
Carnitas Taqueria is open 12noon until late, Wednesday to Sunday.