Nowadays Canberra is getting a reputation as a foodie’s town. The number of restaurants and cafés that have been opening in our city is continually increasing, and with it, the quality of the food and offerings that are being provided.
So when I was lucky enough to score an invitation to the opening of Alex Piris (Fox and Bow, Farrer) and John Stokes’ (Ivy Café, Acton) newest collaboration, ‘Ivy and the Fox’ with four of my friends, I was delighted to be able to experience it first hand.
Ivy and the Fox is located in Old Canberra House on Lennox Crossing, Acton. The building itself was built in 1913 to serve as the residence for the first administrator of the Australian Capital Territory, David Miller. Since then, it has served many purposes, with the last five years being the Ivy Café.
My first impressions as I walk up the path towards the building, is a resounding ‘wow’. The grounds are green and luscious, the trees are matured and provide shady areas to protect you from the sun, and I can’t help but imagine myself sitting on a blanket with a picnic basket during spring and summer. It is a beautiful location.
Inside, I see remnants of the original building perfectly fused with Alex’s decorating signature. A mural by graffiti artist Steve Caddick provides a pop of colour that contrasts older photographs of the area on separate wall.
The food is delicious. There is an array of diverse canapés on offer that will appeal to everyone. The prawns with wasabi and avocado mousse, the peppered lamb crostini with mint and cashew pesto and beetroot relish, and the pumpkin risotto balls were a highlight for me. My absolute favourite of the night, was the chilli crab and pea croquettes with kewpie mayonnaise and bonito flakes.
Since the launch, I have been back twice (well, it only has been open for two weeks). The atmosphere at Ivy and the Fox during the day is as great as on that first night. The staff are attentive, the music is perfect (Michael Bublé, Jack Johnson, Train, Duncan Sheik, John Mayer were some of the few artists that came up on auto Shazam) and the food is as delicious as it was then. I realize now that the canapés served that night were a bite-size version of the food on offer everyday, and I am delighted that those chilli crab and pea croquettes are on their regular menu as ‘The Rocket Man’.
Ivy and the Fox is not just a café though. It feels and presents itself as a venue; the history, the grounds, the atmosphere, the staff, the food – it all blends perfectly together to create a memory of something special.
Alex tells me that their function menu is still evolving, as they are trying to complement all types of events they can host by ensuring that they work with you, rather than having your event fit in with them. Their aim is to have a range of packages that can suit everyone, from a simple Christmas lunch, to a cocktail function, to a black tie affair, to something as special and important as a wedding.
From 5 pm on Fridays they invite everyone to join them at happy hour, with tapas and live musicians, adding to the notion that Ivy and the Fox is a venue.
What you need to know
- Ivy and the Fox is open –
- Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm
- Weekends from 8:30 am to 3 pm.
- Friday’s Live Music & Tapas starts at 5pm and ends at 7pm
- You can get there by Public Transport. Catch Action bus number 7 on weekdays and number 934 on the weekends to the National Museum of Australia and from there walk the short distance to the venue. For route, timetable information and fares visit the Action website
- Contact Ivy and the Fox on 02 6257 9229 to discuss your event and to make a booking.