Over the weekend, we headed down to Farrer to check out Fox and Bow. Prior to visiting Fox and Bow, I had no idea where Farrer was, I mean it did ring a bell but I couldn’t tell you whether it was in the north or south. Has anyone noticed the recent trend of hipster cafes popping up in every small town centre? Its not a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing! In Sydney, I couldn’t dream of it. If you wanted a nice trendy breakfast, you either have to live in a hipster suburb or travel to one. Here in Canberra, regardless of where you live, you’re probably not to far from a nice hipster cafe. We’ve got Stand By Me in Lyons, Little Oink in Cook, Common Grounds in Gowrie and now Fox and Bow in Farrer. So, good job Canberra, getting one over on the big smoke.
Like with all these other awesome hipster small suburban cafes, you won’t find your big breakfasts or bacon and egg rolls on Fox and Bow’s menu, well at least in the traditional sense. Fox and Bow’s menu is creative, daring and most importantly, super tasty. Its not overly complicated and rather limited but there’s definitely something here for everyone, and I hate places with massive menu’s because I take too long to decide and then I feel bad holding up the table. Here at Fox and Box, there are about five or so breakfast options and five or so lunch choices. For weekend brunch, both menu’s are served throughout the day.
Outside of the goodies available from the menu, there is also a blackboard which highlights all of Fow and Bow’s drinks and a cabinet full of sweet treats. I don’t think the sweets are made in house, I did see the crew at Fox and Bow bring in a couple of massive white boxes throughout the day and fill up the cabinet. Like when we first got there, there were no cronuts but towards the end of the day, I managed to grab one. Plus, these donuts look and sound a lot like the Nookie/Chasing Mr Morris’ donuts, just a bit more expensive. Pay for convenience I guess!
On the day when we brunched at Fox and Bow, it was absolutely bustling. We arrived at about 10.30AM on a Saturday and there were people everywhere. All the tables were completely full, there were people outside on milk crates and make shift tables. It was totally going off and I guess Fox and Bow wasn’t 100% ready for it. The service was really nice, everyone was cheerful and the owners were really getting into it and helping out but the food did take a while to come out. We ordered at about 10.45AM and didn’t get our food until about 11.45AM. Which was fine for us, since we were with a couple of mates and chatting but if you’re interested in a quick brunch, this might not be the ideal place, though there’s a very good chance this was a one off due to how busy it was. But outside of the long wait, everything else at Fox and Bow was fantastic.
Anyways, here are the awesome dishes from Fox and Bow.
First up the This is how we roll ($9.90 +$4 spinach), smoked bacon, two fried eggs, BBQ relish, potato hash, melted jack cheese on a toasted brioche bun. We got two versions of this roll, this one which has added spinach and the normal one below. I think we actually got kale not spinach but someone on our table was explaining how kale is a type of spinach, apparently so it seems the kale revolution has finally taken hold, where people start getting kale where kale is not requested. I do not blame Fox and Bow for this at all, kale is simply too powerful, and it seems I may have to simply bow to our new leafy overlords. Though, there’s a chance they simply ran out of normal spinach, they seem to have a habit of replacing things without letting you know but I’ll save that mini rant for the drinks sections.
I must say, this version with a hint of healthy definitely looks a lot more appealing. Though, $4 is a lot for a little bit of added healthiness. I couldn’t quite justify it, I’m not a big fan of healthy to start with and I’m a pretty big fan of $4 so trading the latter for the former didn’t sit too well with me. I would even hesitate to add bacon for $4. Anyways, our healthy friend got this one, so I’ll just talk about the normal version below, which I of course opted for.
Here is the normal version without spinach, This is how we roll ($9.90), smoked bacon, two fried eggs, BBQ relish, potato hash, melted jack cheese on a toasted brioche bun. This was a darn yummy breakfast ‘roll’, it looks a lot more like a burger to me to be honest. I think I’ll call it a burger. So, the only reason I got this burger was because I saw that there was a massive, I mean MASSIVE hash brown in it and I absolutely love hash brown. I stand by my hash brown love, I’m the kind of guy that’ll put chips in a cheeseburger, hash browns in a muffin, hash browns in a BLT whatever, just potato + thing = better thing.
If was I being picky though I did wish this hash brown at Fox and Bow was a little crisper and crunchier, instead it was quite soft. It was a bit like mash potato with a slightly fried edge in a bun or a potato cake. Nevertheless I still really enjoyed it, and would get it again, I just prefer a crispier bit of potato. Outside of the potato, there was a generous amount of really thick cut bacon that was cooked quite soft too. Really nice bacon, but my preference is for really crispy bacon, so unfortunately the soft didn’t work for me. To top it all off, there was a sunny side up egg which oozed with creamy and delicious yolk as you bit into the burger. One thing I should mention, look at how tall this thing is! Really hard to eat like a standard burger, I’m glad to say I never had to resort to the dishonour of knife and forking a burger, but I was so close with this one. So so close.
Here is a cross section of the burger, showing all of its deliciousness. See that awesome full layer of hash brown and many layers of egg and bacon! It was a simple burger in the end of the day, with not too many different elements and flavours but overall, each element came through and balanced each other really well like any good tried and tested egg and bacon roll. The end result was a delicious breakfast burger that was quite large and very filling for less than $10. Oh I almost forget, there was also melted American jack cheese and some smokey BBQ relish which added a lot of creaminess, flavour and sweetness to the burger. These worked perfectly with the savoury and fatty deliciousness of the bacon, eggs and deep fried hash brown.
In the end of the day, it was a simple burger that took all the basic elements of breakfast and did them well, used high quality ingredients and added a little twist here and there and the end result was a very tasty, filling, affordable and fantastic looking hipster treat.
On to the big breakfast, Mr Fox ($18), glazed thick cut bacon, hash, chorizo, morcilla, mushrooms, eggs and toast. Here is Fox and Bow’s take on a big breakfast. Its pretty simple and similar to the ‘This is how we roll’ breakfast burger. Like with the burger, this was simple yet made perfectly and very delicious. The only difference between this big breakfast and the This is how we roll burger was the addition of mushrooms, chorizo and morcilla which I found out was an amazing black pudding. Black pudding is one of my great weaknesses, I think I’ve heard somewhere it’s cholesterol hell, but my god, it’s so delicious I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, even if they have a huge impact on shortening it. Forget the blood part and concentrate on that tasty goodness, don’t miss out due to the “it’s made with blood” crap, it’s delicious. I mean, vampires live forever right? They wouldn’t get something like this wrong. Oh there was also some toast, because well bread, everyone needs bread.
I loved the fact that this big breakfast included a hash brown, so many places will give a big breakfast without a hash brown, and it may be obvious by now, but that’s kind of a big deal to me. At the end of the day, this was just a big fry-up so it’s pretty much everything you’d expect it to be, but just a bit more hip, so that’s something.
Here is the morcilla, which I found was a fancy term for blood sausage. As soon as I saw it on the plate I started salivating. There is nothing that contains as much pure savoury joy in such a small size, as a piece of blood sausage. I think pate is the only thing that really comes close to it. It’s softer than normal sausage, crumbles away in your mouth, with a taste that can only be described as “dark”, it has none of the metallic flavour of blood, just a deep rich meatiness that’s just difficult to describe with any greater accuracy than that. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
Finally, the Le Mexicana ($18), soft shell tacos with two fried eggs, avocado, chorizo, slaw and a tomato picante. This may just look like a bit of a mess but it was a darn scrumptious tasting mess! This is probably the best breakfast dish I’ve had in Canberra, though I am a big fan of Mexican food so that may be skewing it. This dish took the freshness of your traditional leaf salad breakfast and combined it with my favourite elements of Mexican food, that is avocados and salsas. Then they added a sunny side up egg, which means you can eat it for breakfast and feel normal!
I must say, this was a total mess to eat and it required quite a bit of effort but it was totally worth it. The salsa was really fresh with plenty of colour from the different cherry tomatoes, sliced up onions and plenty of herbs including dill and parsley. The salsa was full of flavour, tangy and had a little bit of spice to it. This super light and fresh salsa went perfectly with the more heavy and flavoursome elements of the taco. Inside the two tacos, there was a thick strip of spicy chorizo which was full of deep meat flavours and plenty of spiciness. To compliment the meat, there was a sunny side up egg in each taco which oozed with creamy and delicious egg yolk. Inside each taco there was also a generous amount of fresh and ripe avocado which added heaps of extra creaminess and played off the strong tanginess of the salsa.
Each element had a strong flavour on its own but together they balanced each other perfectly and worked so well. Each mouth was filled with bursts of amazing flavour. This dish was the perfect combination of strong, heavy and creamy flavours with lightness, freshiness and tanginess.
On to something sweet, the Salted caramel cronut ($4.80). When we first got to Fox and Bow the sweets cabinet was looking pretty empty with only a couple of tarts, pastries and donuts from Nookie. Then about an hour into our meal the crew at Fox and Bow start unpacking a whole bunch of cronuts from these white boxes. I’m assuming they just got the cronuts delivered or someone went to pick them up. There were three different flavours including cinnamon, salted caramel and chocolate. I was going for the cinnamon flavour however I ended up with salted caramel, not much of an issue seeing as salted caramel is pretty tasty anyway.
As I was dining in, the crew at Fox and Bow offered to plate it up with some cream and blueberries. I agree with you, the cronut looks pretty ugly but it tasted pretty solid. The inside was pretty flaky with quite a few layers. It was also filled with just the right amount of salted caramel so that every bite you took had a little bit of pastry and that sweetness with an edge of saltiness. On top of the cronut there was also a little bit of hardened caramel as well. I know it doesn’t mean much but I absolutely love hardened caramel. Just a preference I guess.
For our drinks, first up the Shake it off ($5.50), vanilla infused honey with malt balls and ice cream. Okay so this was a great drink and all but I have a minor complaint. So if you order this drink, yours will probably look quite different and much cooler than mine. So apparently this drink is meant to come with a dollop of ice cream on top and malt balls, a bit like the drink below. I saw a couple of people before me and afterwards get it but I didn’t and I definitely didn’t get the wrong drink. So, I did notice while I was ordering my food and this drink that someone in the kitchen was exclaiming that they had ran out of vanilla ice cream and someone was being told to go get some from the shops. I guess that’s probably why I didn’t get any ice cream on mine but I don’t get why they just didn’t hold off until they got more ice cream. It didn’t make any sense, my friends drink took ages to come out, we were pretty done with our food before he got his drink, so why were they in such a rush to give me mine while it was half missing? I’m really ok with waiting for the thing that I paid for, instead of getting half of it, quicker. In any case I would’ve preferred to be given the option. Bit bitter about this sadly.
Anyway, the drink itself was really nice. It was like drinking a liquid and chilled form of Malteser. It was really nice. It was super creamy and had a really strong and delicious malt flavour to it. It wasn’t overly sweet which was great since this helped the drink from getting overwhelming and really sickening. There was a perfect amount of creaminess and sweetness to it. A great little drink for these Canberra summers. I can’t imagine how delicious that would’ve been with ice cream! Still bitter.
The smoothie, Ohh Darla ($6.5), watermelon, lemon sorbet, berries and pineapple. This was a really great drink and it looked amazing too. The different fruits came together really well. Together it made a drink with a really mild berry flavour with this lovely rounded and sweet aftertaste from the watermelon and pineapple. The lime sorbet on top had this lovely citrus flavour to it and worked really well when mixed into the drink. There wasn’t too much sourness to it which was good. I’ve never been a big fan of sour treats, it normally gets a bit too much for me.
Overall the drink was really nice and sweet but still perfectly refreshing. The drink was pretty much summer in a cup for me or a manson jar, I guess. I really wish I didn’t get screwed over with the Shake it off drink. Otherwise these two fantastic drinks alone would have made Fox and Bow the perfect place for a quick drink or catch up with friends.
Finally, a coffee, Cappuccino ($3.50). As you may know by now, I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to coffee. As long as it’s sweetish and has plenty of creamy froth, I’m normally pretty happy. Yet every time I go out and have brunch, I feel the need to get a cappuccino. You know, makes me feel cultured and all that. This coffee definitely fits my criteria for a good coffee, it was lovely and creamy with plenty of delicious froth. But I’ll let you know if my coffee loving friends disagree with me, like they did with The Cupping Room.
Our meal at Fox and Bow was absolutely amazing. Both the foods and drinks were really tasty and creative. I’m really loving all these random cafes out in the sticks, I’ve yet to have a bad experience at a single one of them and they definitely educate me about Canberra’s geography. Its nice to be able to venture out of the city on the weekends. As much as I enjoy having all these fantastic and hipster places opening up in Braddon these other places are really doing something new, different and fantastic.