Directly translated as ‘the taco maker’, El Taquero does, for the people of Manchester, exactly what it says on the tin – it makes authentic Mexican tacos – and it does it well.
In the big cities, I often feel that what we’re really missing out on is not diversity (I could think of an abundance of Indian, Chinese, Tex-Mex and/or Asian restaurants all within a stones throw of Piccadilly station even) but rather authenticity.
Time after time I’ve been disappointed with yet another chain’s new menu which cries genuineness ’til the cows come home, but what it really screams is ‘I’ve just been microwaved’ – and this is where El Taquero really stands out for me.
A colourful paradise in the heart of the city
Step into the hedonistic space and an assault of mosaic and colour greets you, pattern upon pattern characterise the walls and the heady backstreet glow of the ‘Cantina’ is almost enough to convince you that you’ve arrived in a proper little Mexican lunch spot and you’re about to eat some of the best tacos of your life. And you are.
Ten different bottled beers beautifully displayed
Disclaimer: what you won’t find at this place is an abundance of nachos, burritos and fajitas mexicana – dishes often plugged as ‘traditional’ fare but which really fall short in terms of core understanding as to what proper Mexican grub is all about.
Fresh ingredients imported from Mexico every week
El Taquero’s mantra, “the real taste of Mexico”, is characterised by their acute attention to detail, from the all-Mexican creative team, the tortilla press imported directly from Mexico so they can make tortillas in-house daily, and the fresh authentic ingredients – the cactus being what I was most excited about.
With 45 mezcal and tequilas on offer
Even their mezcal/tequila experience stems from an offering of 45 different tequilas – each one typical of Mexico and each as unique as the last.
The ‘Carne Asda con Nopales’ were especially moreish – the chargrilled steak was tender and flavoursome and the cactus was unlike anything I have ever had before.
I didn’t even know eating cactus what a thing until these bad boys came out…
Once you’ve tried it you’ll go back again and again
The star of the show was the unusual ‘Carnitas Hangover Food’ – equally enjoyable post-night out or otherwise, the slow-cooked confit pork collar, served simply with onion, herbs and lime wedges.
Carnitas are the perfect hangover cure…
The core flavour of the pork was given the breathing space it deserved as we topped it with one of their 5 homemade salsas (El Taquero’s habernero one is the dream) we were literally transported to Mexico.
El Taquero’s sampler packed full of tasty offerings
If you’re watching your waistline before your hols (or generally like me, have just been eating and drinking wayyy too much for a 5-foot something gal) El Taquero also offer the option of ‘naked tacos’ – ie the low-carb alternative whereby the taco is replaced by greens, a nice light variation which still encompasses all that delicious flavour.
The new menu, which has been kept under wraps for the last few months while the creative team have worked to perfect it – officially launches on Wednesday 8th August – 5pm sharp for all you keen Mexican beans.
Don’t take my word for it though – the gaff are offering 25% off until the end of August and you can book via the official website here.
You’ll find El Taquero at 42 Back Turner Street, Manchester, M4 1FR.