It's getting harder and harder to find a crappy cup of coffee in this city. Some of the old guys who used to meet at the Diner on 50th every morning to discuss important issues of the day such as who exactly is the biggest jackass in town have been deeply shaken by the arrival of a new, trendy cafe in its place.
What the hell is halloumi, they wonder, and where did all these hipster moms come from, and whence have fled the flapjacks of yesteryear? This new place, with its trendy unfinished wood and Iain M. Banks novels, its vegan-friendly lentil curries and mango green teas, it's just not the same anymore. Even the clientele seem new to downtown, the kind of people you don't normally see on Range Street in the middle of the day. This town is going straight to hell.
EDGE asked Jeremy Flatt — one of the triumvirate along with Emma Atkinson and Philip Jefferies behind the Fat Fox — to explain:
On the Menu
Jeremy: "All of the stuff on there is stuff I grew up eating and stuff that I love to cook. My brother and I were raised by a single working mum and she taught us to cook from an early age. We lived in Cyprus from when I was four until I was thirteen and we would often cook traditional Cypriot food when we moved back to the UK. My Cypriot friends are really happy that I’m serving things like Fasolia, Halloumi Cheese and Tahinopites in Yellowknife.
"There are two curries on the menu too that I’m fond of. My older brother Ken is the real curry master, though. He went to university in a city called Bradford in the north of England which has a huge Indian and Pakistani population and a reputation for amazing authentic food. Everything I know about Curry I learned from him. He runs a successful catering company in our hometown of Colchester. He came to visit me here once and we flew over to Iqaluit to cook curries together for a fundraising event for the Food First foundation. Eva Aariaq was there and I made a joke about curried seals. It bombed."
"I used to work for Craig Scott, one of the guys behind Arctic Harvest, the Sapsucker Birch Syrup company. We wanted something with birch syrup on the menu because it’s a real local delicacy, and granola seemed like a good choice because there’s nowhere else in town that does it. Also, the whole place kind of screams granola, so we thought people would expect it."
"Here you can see an archetype of our target demographic, a young creative professional working away on some exciting project on his Macbook Pro. The bench he’s sitting on was built by Phil and Dane Mason out of old bits of scrap wood. We actually built it to fit exactly in that spot, but being total amateurs we measured it before we installed the base boards so we had to grease the sides a little to get it back into place. The chalkboard was Emma’s idea: we figured that people would get a kick out of scribbling on the wall and it’d give kids something to do while their young professional parents sip flavoured lattes."F
"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to serve scones with Devonshire cream, because it’s a treat that’s close to our hearts and something everyone should try. Devonshire cream is better known in England as clotted cream, but that name didn’t workshop well with Canadians so we avoided it."
Palmiers and Cakes
"These are some of Keisha Blake’s creations. She’s a really talented baker and we basically just told her to go to town."
Tea sample pots
"Emma is really into tea, and figured that people in Yellowknife would appreciate a cafe paying as much attention to tea as it does to coffee. We wanted people to be able to see and smell the teas properly before making their decision about which to try. Our teas come from a company called Naked Teas in Vancouver. We spent weeks trying to find a water boiler that could be customised to hold water at the correct temperature for brewing black, red and herbal teas. It was worth it though, as people seem to be really into them."
“We knew that people in Yellowknife were crying out for better coffee. We set up an account with a roastery in Edmonton called Transcend. They don’t offer a really wide range of coffees, but they trade directly with growers and the coffee they get is just really, really good. They roast to order and we usually have our coffee picked up by Buffalo Air the day after it’s roasted, which means that customers can get it two days after it’s roasted. This is what really makes the difference in quality. For flavoured coffees, we make our own syrups in house. The most popular by far is Cardamom syrup, but my personal favourite is Orange Peel and Tonka Bean syrup.”
Jeremy: "We really wanted to emphasise that the Fat Fox is a place where you can come and relax and feel welcome. We figured a bookshelf is a good way of getting this across to people. Some of the books are mine and some we bought from the Salvation Army. Lots were donated by friends too.
Emma "I used to go to a pub back home that had so many books on display, but they were locked in glass cases so you could never actually read them and I never understood why. I love the idea of being able to go into a cafe without having to prepare anything to take with you because there will be something you can find there."
The Fat Fox is at 5008-50th St. Hours are: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Its website, with menu, is here.
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