Food & Drink

Minutas Street Food – Traditional Argentine Food on the harbour

Minutas Street Food and Bar is Folkestone Harbour’s Argentine restaurant run by Paula Cambra.  It is situated on Harbourside looking over the White Cliffs, across to France and nestled between Bao Boba and Harbourside Square. Paula’s recipes have been passed down from mother to daughter and secrets will not be shared.  The only way to understand the unique flavours and dishes is to try, and return to try more.   Folkelife took a moment in the sun, on the bench by the harbour, to speak to Paula about her new venture.

“I love to travel and to live in different countries and have lived across South America.  I came to the UK with an old boyfriend.  He lied to me.  He said there were beautiful summers in England and that it never rained.  I’m not with him anymore!  No, I’m joking!  I have a new partner now and living in this part of the country I wanted to bring a little bit of Argentina to the table.  I cook what I like to eat, and I find that these foods are missing from what’s on offer in restaurants and takeaways in the UK.”  

beef with beef, Chicken with beef

We do eat a lot of meat in Argentina.  People joke that it’s ‘beef with beef, and chicken with beef…’ But it is very good beef, with lots of flavour.  The cows have had a really comfortable life, not having to work too hard, so the meat is tender.  They grow up on good grass that means they’re very well nourished, and you can tell when you eat it there’s something special there.  It travels 4,700 miles to get here and it’s worth every penny. 

“Then there’s the magical chimichurri sauce; a mixture of fresh herbs and I can’t tell you any more than that as my recipe is a secret!  It can be used as a salad dressing or on our Argentine chorizo (which is different to the Spanish).  I don’t put it on the steak, because you need to taste that for what it is, but it can go on nearly everything else!  I’m really proud of our steak and so this is a special treat for any steak lover.”

harbour is home

“Being on Folkestone Harbour is the right place for me.  I feel at home here; it’s everything that I am – quirky, adventurous, experimental.  I feel comfortable and able to express who I am in the food that I serve here.  There is a hatch on the side of my restaurant which is the take away service.  You can get the street food from there and enjoy the Harbour with your food. The bar is inside, and that’s where I’ll be running steak nights on Friday, and a dine in service from Wednesday to Sunday.  Whatever you choose, you’ll get the real Argentine deal at Minutas.”

Minutas Paula
Minutas Interior Credit Matt Rowe
Beer Credit Matt Rowe
Minutas Signs
Bar Interior Credit Matt Rowe
Minutas Buenos Ayres

minutas or horas

“It’s important that people know they can enjoy both the street food here and also still be able to sit down for a really good steak.  The summer times on the Harbour are amazing.  People come from everywhere and it’s wonderful to meet those who’ve been to Argentina or are indeed Argentine themselves.  And where we are, we’re right by the live music in Harbourside Square so it’s the perfect place to enjoy the atmosphere with some really tasty food.  

“I have to emphasise too that football is very important so there is a Chapel of Football in one corner.  There you will be able to acknowledge Santa Maradona and Golden Messi, and the shrine to the World Cup complete with votive candles.  Everyone is welcome to enjoy the football together.  

“We like to party a lot so I want to bring that celebration feel to you.  Expect music, chocotorta (the cake you have for any celebration) and warmth.  When it’s winter in the UK, it’s summer in Argentina, and vice versa, but we’re always ready to be at the beach and party!”

the best team

“This will be my fourth summer working here in Folkestone and I’ve built up a great team of women to help me do what I do.  I’m the Chef – and that’s the best place for me to be.  It means the food comes as I want it to, as my grandmother made it and how I was taught.  The girls are in charge with serving and they’re a brilliant team.

“Empanadas and churros have always been popular and they continue to be on my menu.  Chocotorta is there too, layers of chocolate and Dulce de Leche on top of special Argentine biscuits.  You get a slice with a dollop of vanilla ice cream which just cuts into the rich, unctuous chocolate. A perfect combination!

advice and guidance

I’ve found that people are also happy to take my advice and be adventurous in what they eat.  They ask me if they will like it and I make sure that they do, but also that they’re getting the real taste of Argentina in the food that I make.  All my recipes are inspired by my family; my mother and grandmother.  It’s really important to me that I can create something here in the UK that is what you’d find in Argentina.  My steaks are perfect and juicy, and cooked in the Argentine way, just how we would at home.  I wouldn’t serve it otherwise!”

Discover more about folkestone below

Sole Kitchen, Harbour Coffee, Sailbox and The Fish Shack
The Place To Be – Folkestone Harbour
Beachside at The Harbour Arm

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