Australia is everywhere in New York. No doubt because our country, and its countrymen, are all the things Americans think we are: friendly, hard-working and yes–it is a cute accent isn’t it? We’re even cheeky enough to have fooled our American counterparts into somehow thinking we invented smashed avo on toast. I mean–let’s be honest–can Australians really lay claim to the invention of feta and avo on toast?
Then there’s the coffee, and we really did need to intervene on that front. Nobody does a flat white quite like a bearded Melburnian. The awkward contradiction here is that–aren’t we all a little sick of these modern Australian cafes? Although I harbour the same nostalgia for our world-class breakfasts, didn’t we all come to New York for a reason?
If you’re the sort of diner who is eager to try something a little experimental; something you can only find in the industrial, and oh-so-hipster Lower East Side: listen close. Last week I encountered an Australian husband-wife duo making memorable tacos on Delancey st. Paratha tacos. Their store, Goa Taco, enticed me at once. Walking by, I easily convinced myself that I could, in fact, go-a-taco. Inside, chef-owner Duvaldi told me that “paratha bread is the buttery, flaky lovechild of a tortilla and a croissant”.
I ordered two. Each was a revelation, filled with seasonal toppings inspired by Duvaldi’s travels. The pork belly with pickled red cabbage and chipotle mayo is Goa’s signature taco, for good reason. Other menu favourites include recado rojo lamb shoulder, spiced honey roasted butternut squash and homemade chicken chorizo. The tacos range in price from $7 to $9.
Duvaldi and Michelle Marneweck hail from South Africa originally, but have lived in Australia for twelve years before relocating to New York in early 2014. Duvaldi worked as a head chef at award winning fine dining restaurants in Perth for five years, before shocking everyone and moving to New York instead of Melbourne.
Remember when it was summer? Back then Goa Taco was making waves at the Smorgasburg Jnr market in Park Slope. When it started getting cold, Duvaldi became something of a taco missionary, popping up in bars around Brooklyn to feed the hungry and inebriated. Three weeks ago Goa Taco stopped being flaky, and committed to 79 Delancey St in LES for a short time only, until the end of January. Open from 5pm – 12am Tuesday through Thursday, 12pm – 2am Friday and Saturday, and 12pm – 10pm on Sunday. The pop-up location has an eclectic fit-out, providing welcome respite from these chilly January days.
January update: Goa Taco pop up store will be open until the end of February.
Photo of Duvaldi Marneweck
Photo credit – Kiri Milburn