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Travel Report: Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Little Red Fox Espresso Siem Reap.

Little Red Fox Espresso.

May 2020. Ask me to reveal my favourite Siem Reap restaurant and I might give you a different answer on any given day. But pin me down on the subject of the city’s best coffee and there’ll be no beating around the bush. For the real deal… the bomb… the dog’s bollocks and any other term you might want to apply, look no further than The Little Red Fox. In fact, dig around online and you’ll find several articles claiming this discreetly located cafe is one of the finest coffee spots in all of South East Asia!

David Stirling Adam Rodwell Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

Adam Rodwell and David Stirling.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Behind the brilliance of Little Red Fox stands the dashing duo of Adam Rodwell and David Stirling. Both hailing from Australia, they met a decade ago, formed a solid friendship and eventually became travel buddies. Together, they fell in love with Asia, making tracks around Thailand and Singapore.

The Little Red Fox Espresso Siem Reap.

Adam Rodwell, The Little Red Fox Espresso.

Adam describes his young self as “just your standard hospitality triple threat wannabe”. Spend a little time in his company, and you’ll realise this is just a dose of Adam’s signature self deprecation. Because, of course, it’s clear that he was actually a gifted barista, bartender, waiter and cafe host in the making.

David Stirling Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

David Stirling, The Little Red Fox Espresso.

David meanwhile has long been a talented hairdresser, who has achieved great renown in his field. He completed a hair colouring degree through the German hair care giants Wella and managed two high end salons called Rokstar, based out of Brisbane.

Adam Rodwell David Stirling Little Red Fox Espresso.

Adam Rodwell and David Stirling.

“A 10 minute special came up for $19.00 tickets to some place called Siem Reap!”

In late 2013 Adam and David were about to return to Thailand for another spell of exploring. However, when David saw an amazing deal for flights to Cambodia, he impulsively snapped up two tickets. “Ha, initially I was not happy with this sudden change in plans”, admits Adam. “But what can I say, the way everything worked out, he has proven me very, very wrong”.

Coffee Little Red Fox Espresso Siem Reap.

Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Just like Sladja and I, Adam and David fell for the charms of Siem Reap and soon began wondering how they could stay and earn a living. Get a job in a hotel? Go down the old English teacher route?

Finally, it was a comment from an Australian acquaintance that set their minds buzzing: “Dude, you can make coffee!” After a spell back in Australia, they returned to Cambodia in March 2014 for an extended period of research, planning, sourcing, design and a million and other tasks. Then, at long last, The Little Red Fox Espresso opened its doors in October 2014.

Baristas at Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

It didn’t take long for Adam and David to start making waves. Having incorporated a hair salon into the premises, the duo offered a pleasing mix of “addiction downstairs, vanity upstairs”. It was also the first place in Siem Reap to serve cold drip coffee. And the special coffeemaker used is literally a work of art in its own right.

David Stirling hairdresser Siem Reap.

Photo courtesy of Nicky Sullivan.

Over the years, they have built up a formidable coffee menu that features five different styles of brewing techniques and three types of coffee beans and blends. The focus, insists David, is very much on South East Asian beans.

Mystic Mountain, baby!

Mystic Mountain Typica Coffee Beans.

Their most popular blend is the Mystic Mountain Single Origin from the Laos Bolaven Plateau. I’m talking hints of apricots, citrus and toffee. From time to time, David admits, they even have trouble keeping up with stock demand!

Ginger and Lemongrass Latte Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

While I’ve tried The Mystic Mountain (it’s great), my choice Red Fox coffee is a big old mug of Ginger and Lemongrass Latte. It’s just exceptional, the kind of morning medicine that shakes off the cobwebs and gives you an encouraging boot up the ass for the doings of the day.

Furthermore, the guys are famed for their colourful, risqué lattes. Fancy trying Pink BeetrootBlue Butterfly Flower? Yellow Turmeric & Pepper? 

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Coconut Cinnamon Mocha and energy ball Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

Moreover, Sladja has fond memories of the Coconut Cinnamon Mocha. Dense and rich, this thing is like a whole meal in itself! So bring an empty stomach, and an appetite for reading.

The Breakfast Bagel Little Red Fox Siem Reap

Bow down before the almighty Breakfast Bagel!

Similarly pleasing is Red Fox’s compact but quality-driven food menu. For me, their standout dish is the giant Breakfast Bagel, a towering beast of a thing packed with bacon, cream cheese, free-range eggs (fried or scrambled), sliced green olives and cheddar cheese. Should you be so inclined (and I am), one can add extra bacon and spinach!

Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Elsewhere, there are omelettes, salads, muesli and smoothie bowls, as well as various cakes. I’d also recommend their toast, which comes with a variety of toppings, such as pesto and crushed avocado. Simple, tasty and healthy.

Khmer pop art Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

Adam and David have put as much love into the vibe of their cafe as they have with the food and drink. Service is always top-notch and the wifi ensures it’s a solid place to work.

They also play a wide range of excellent music spanning the decades. On the walls, you’ll find a fascinating collection of Khmer pop art dating back to the 50s, 60s and 70s. An atmospheric flavour of Cambodia’s Golden age of rock.

Ros Serey Sothea Cambodian singer

Ros Serey Rothia.

Fascinatingly, these are scanned prints of lost vinyl covers discovered by a friend’s father. He had buried them for safekeeping during the dark years of The Khmer Rouge. Some of the artists featured include Ros Serey Rothia, known for her romantic ballads, and Sinn Sisamouth, “the king of Khmer rock n’ roll”.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

There is So Much Life in Here.

The Little Red Fox Espresso, Siem Reap.

There are a handful of beautiful art books here and there too. Having seemingly sculpted the perfect coffee environment, you’d be hard pushed to hear or indeed find a bad word against The Little Red Fox. Perhaps a sneering reference or two to the word “hipsters” from a forum troll.

But you know what, if being a hipster means enjoying delicious, affordable coffee, friendly service, excellent food, great music and engaging art, just tell me where to sign up!

Little Red Fox Siem Reap.

For more on Little Red Fox, why not check out their website.

You can also get in touch through their Facebook page.

For more on Siem Reap’s excellent cafe, restaurant and bar scene, check out my detailed guide on Where to Eat and Drink Siem Reap.

You can also read my exhaustive overview of What to See and Do in Siem Reap.

Looking for a roof over your head? Check out my articles on Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.

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4 Comments

  • Travel with a Pen

    Addiction downstairs and vanity upstairs! I can totally vibe with that! I am finally admitting that I miss the great outdoors and travel. This is the post that did it for me!

    May 25, 2020 - 4:12 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, thanks a lot. The next few months are gonna be crucial for the world I think. Hope you can get back on the road soon.

      May 25, 2020 - 5:50 pm Reply
  • Henry Lewis

    I hope this very cool-looking place has been able to survive the lock-downs.

    June 20, 2020 - 4:02 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Henry, it has! They had to close their upstairs area unfortunately, but they remain open and the salon still takes appointments.

      June 20, 2020 - 9:33 am Reply

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