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Collingwood cafe and concept store CIBI is evolving into a new space

September 5, 2018 Dining No Comments Email Email


After ten successful years, CIBI (pronounced “chi-bee”), the neighbourhood cafe and design store has dramatically outgrown its original site and is moving further along the same street to an 800sqm warehouse located at 31-39 Keele Street, Collingwood. In a bold new evolution, owners Meg and Zenta Tanaka are expanding their horizons and moving into a space four times the size of the original. This is an opportunity to further realise their vision of enriching the lives of their customers, team, suppliers and neighbourhood.

Divided into various zones, visitors will be encouraged to take a journey through the new CIBI. The design store, offering an even larger curated collection of artisanal Japanese homewares will also grow in size and offering. The newest addition to CIBI is a range of Japanese pantry staples, Victorian seasonal produce and dairy products, locally-made tofu as well as sauces, pickles and condiments made by Meg in the CIBI kitchen.

The large kitchen and café will enable Meg to offer an extended menu of soulful Japanese-inspired food, building on CIBI’s signature style which blends traditional Japanese ingredients and cooking methods with Western flavours and local seasonal produce. The menu is available for breakfast, through to lunch and afternoon tea and will include dishes from their recently published cookbook, CIBI: Simple Japanese-Inspired Meals to Share with Family and Friends. CIBI’s ever-popular traditional Japanese breakfast; grilled salmon fillet, “tamagoyaki” omelette, seasonal greens, rice and miso soup, previously only available on weekends, will now be served every morning of the week and signature dishes such as the soba salad and chicken soboro also remain on the menu.

The larger design store will enable a more extensive display of kitchen and household goods from CIBI’s favourite artisan manufacturers in Japan. Selected for their simple design, excellent craftsmanship and hands-on functionality, many are imported exclusively by CIBI, including the award-winning Hakusan porcelain and Sori Yanagi cutlery and steel ware. The expanded space will also enable Zenta to explore his interest in furniture and larger design items. Following the debut of the CIBI drinking glass, more CIBI design collaborations with various artists and designers will continue to filter into the range.

Applying his architectural training, Zenta has repurposed the 60-year old former garment factory. The design of the new CIBI space sees the romantic Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (an acceptance of impermanence and observation of beauty in imperfection) expressed through the purposefully untouched and exposed industrial shell. The bones of the structure – exposed beams, concrete floor and red brick walls are celebrated in the design. The space is furnished with CIBI’s signature style of curiosity and discovery. A collection of vintage odds-and-ends curated by Meg and Zenta over the years mixes old and new with a comfortable ease, in keeping with the heritage of the space.

At its heart, CIBI is an expression of community and a celebration of life. This new space is the next step in their evolution. Meg is looking forward to using the larger kitchen to expand CIBI’s catering service, host events and provide cooking lessons for ever-curious customers and guests of CIBI.

Long time CIBI friends The Plant Society and United Measures picture framers will also be headquartered in the new CIBI warehouse, lending an abundance of greenery and creative energy to the space. In time, Meg and Zenta also plan to introduce a range of creative activations such as exhibitions, workshops and special events, further enriching the neighbourhood.

CIBI’s new space will welcome customers from early October, and the previous space will close on 30 September.



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