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Coffee and colouring to go at new venue

David Stirling attends to Adam Rodwell’s hair in the salon upstairs at Little Red Fox Espresso.
David Stirling attends to Adam Rodwell’s hair in the salon upstairs at Little Red Fox Espresso. NICKY SULLIVAN

Coffee and colouring to go at new venue

Coffee, cakes, cuts and colouring are the new order at The Little Red Fox Espresso, a coffee shop and hair salon that’s just opened in Hap Guan Street behind Central Market.

Caffeine fans will be particularly happy to try out Siem Reap’s first cold drip coffee.

Adam Rodwell, somewhat obsessed with the perfect cup of coffee, and David Stirling, a Wella Professional master colourist, first came to Cambodia for a holiday in August last year,

“We’d already fallen in love with Siem Reap and had cancelled our plans to visit the rest of Cambodia so that we could stay here for the whole holiday,” said David. “Then two days before we left, we got chatting to some friends and were telling them about our dreams.

“Adam wanted his own coffee shop, and I’d been thinking about going my own way for a while too. We were just talking, not even thinking about it from a business point of view, but then our friends said ‘Why don’t you do it here?’”

Almost a year later, the door to their dreams is open.

The Little Red Fox Espresso draws on the professional backgrounds of both men. Adam has worked in hospitality in Brisbane’s trendy West End for the last eight years, and is a professionally trained barista, while David is a hairdresser.

In the upstairs-downstairs arrangement, Adam is downstairs. The coffee shop features simple wooden furniture and white walls which create a relaxed open space, with a kind of stripped urban feel.

The coffee comes from Feel Good in Phnom Penh, and customers can choose coffee made in the traditional espresso style in all its variations with a French press, or in Siem Reap’s first cold drip coffee maker.

Cold drip coffee creates a completely different flavour from coffee brewed using hot water, as the process doesn’t provoke the bitter oils that hot brewing does.

The result is a coffee which gives a boost, without the mad buzz of an espresso.

“It’s much smoother and earthier than hot coffee,” said Adam. “And while it’s often served on ice, it’s completely different from what people refer to as iced coffee.”

Coffee is so much the focus at The Little Red Fox that the menu has even been designed around it.

“I’m not being biased, but Adam really does make the most amazing coffee,” explained David. “So the menu is quite small, and has been tailored so that it doesn’t overpower that flavour.

“There’ll be lots of really good pestos, nice toasts, some really good jams, and really healthy cakes based on recipes tried and tested by four generations of my family.”

The pair plans to eventually expand the range to vegan and dietary-restricted dishes as well.

David’s main arena is upstairs, where the hair salon is kitted out with a proper sink and hairdresser’s chair. David has also installed a filter to help combat the excessive mineral load in Siem Reap’s water.

After working as an apprentice in central Queensland, he joined leading Brisbane hair studio Rokstar seven years ago, and has managed two city salons for the last six years.

His style and experience eventually led to an invitation by Wella to undertake its dedicated colour master degree, for which it accepts only seven hairstylists from around the world each year. Completing the course opened up a new world for David, who has since worked on International Fashion Weeks in New York and New Zealand, and has also worked on photo shoots for modelling agencies in Australia.

Having noted the emerging fashion scene in Siem Reap, he’s keen to work with local photographers on shoots in town.

To celebrate the opening, David is offering a free Alchemy treatment to Siem Reapers who book another service and mention this story until the end of October. The Alchemy treatment involves a keratin-based shampoo, followed by a reconstructing cream and hot towel soak, and an extra-long head massage.

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