Interview with the owner of Deptford and Peckham’s Taca Tacos

Owner Thorne Addyman tells Eliza Frost about the ‘best birria in London’, research trips to Mexico and powerful community of Deptford 
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What was the inspiration for Taca Tacos?

Thorne Addyman: My mum’s parents are from California, and we spent most school summer holidays visiting them and always visited Mexican restaurants – something the UK didn’t really have. I loved watching the chefs stretch the dough for tacos and burritos – I was inspired from a young age. 

I started working in a kitchen when I was 14 and slowly learned the basics – I was super passionate and whenever I brainstormed career ideas, working in the food business was always my safe space. After getting a very useful geography degree, I worked in food and drink marketing and sales roles for six years and did food pop-ups on the side – slowly building confidence and homing in on tacos. 

There weren’t enough great ones in London, and they were such fun to cook! I went on a taco tour around southern California in 2019 and came back fully inspired and started to take things more seriously.

What is the secret to a great taco? 

A great tasting and fresh corn tortilla (sometimes flour), a brilliantly cooked and seasoned meat (or veg), and an awesome salsa. Onion and coriander, of course, for extra bite. But these three things – tortilla, meat, salsa – are the foundations.

How do you innovate different flavour combinations?

We try and get the fundamentals right and use authentic Mexican ingredients. I always continue to research through reading recipe books, online blogs and occasionally taco trips to the states and Mexico. 

Three of us chefs went to New York this year for some development research, and it was such a brilliant experience and really helped the team understand what makes a good taco and a great taco. 

We always develop our recipes; we know there’s always things we can improve on and we test and test again. Our recipe development days happen every Wednesday and we bring new ideas to the table and recreate dishes in different ways and trial our Taco of the Month!

I tried your Mr Bao collab at the Peckham branch, which was delish. What was your favourite collab and why?

We loved the Mr Bao collab, too. We had just opened our Peckham doors and they sent us a message asking if we’d be interested in working together. It was a lovely welcome and really helped us feel part of the local community! Our Birria Burger collab with Honest Burgers was also up there.

Do you have any collabs coming up?

Not currently. We are working with a few brands though so I expect something will happen soon. Anything you’d like to see? 

Which is your favourite item on the menu?

Our pride and joy is the beef birria. We put such a lot of work into making it taste great! We’re of course biased, but I think our birria is the best in London. 

How does Deptford’s arches feel like home?

The sense of community in Deptford is powerful and that makes Deptford feel like home. Deptford was where I did the first taco pop-up and our first bricks and mortar. It fills me with such pride and joy opening the doors to our Deptford Arch. 

And how about the team?

When it comes to the Taca team, it feels a bit like a family, and I feel incredibly lucky to work alongside such a mixed and enthusiastic group of people. It’s definitely stressful at times and we don’t always agree but ultimately there’s an incredibly strong bond between the team and we all seem to have a common goal – to make great tacos and make people happy! 

You’ve also expanded to Peckham, how does it feel growing Taca Tacos?

Exciting, scary, rewarding. It’s a constant challenge. Some days things go wrong! Some days they go right! Last week the shutter refused to open, and we couldn’t get in. It’s such a team effort running a business and working alongside an enthusiastic team is the key to success. 

What’s next?

Who knows… I’m having a second child this summer. For now, we plan to focus on what we have and making sure we’re doing the best job we can. And then, after that, we might be ready to grow again. 

Taca Taco Kitchen, Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4AR


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