Japanese Cafe Melbourne / Cibi

A Japanese cafe Melbourne with an industrial vibe and joyful heart

Since opening the doors to their lifestyle concept store and cafe in Melbourne’s Collingwood almost 15 years ago, owners Meg and Zenta Tanaka have established CIBI as a much loved neighbourhood staple for Japanese inspired food and homewares.

With spaces in both Melbourne and Tokyo, CIBI is a cafe and a retail store that focuses on good quality produce and design pieces. But it’s also much more than these things. A kind, meaningful and simple life well lived is built into the CIBI philosophy. It’s very much a family business – a family that goes beyond Meg, Zenta and their sons, extending to its staff, customers, makers, growers and neighbours.

Located in a former garment factory, the CIBI space might be vast in scale, but it feels warm and intimate, almost like you’re entering the home of a close friend. That feeling is a testament to Meg and Zenta’s dream of building a creative life and business that work in harmony together, where everyone feels welcome and the small, daily joys are celebrated.

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japanese cafe melbourne cibi

The restrained but stylish, light-filled and lofty space retains a homey feel. The countertops are timber, and the homewares shop is furnished with mostly vintage items. Display tables are constructed from aerated concrete slabs, and a long two-tiered shelf near the back doubles as seating for cooking classes and creative workshops. In the dining area, chairs and tables are mismatched.

There’s a meticulously curated collection of clothing, artisanal homewares, stationery, books and specialty Japanese ingredients. There’s also CIBI’s own merchandise, which includes a cookbook, house-made pantry staples (like the miso from your breakfast) and a tote bag that’s long been a fixture on shoulders in Collingwood.

There is a grocery section with fresh produce and pantry goods such as handmade Italian pasta, French mustard, local apple juice, locally made cheeses, tofu and takeaway meals.

You can get pretty much anything here, from important Hakusan porcelain to CIBI’s homebrand chilli miso paste, Birkenstock sandals and Sori Yanagi kettles to a whole wall of tenugui hand towels.

japanese cafe melbourne cibi

An expression of their way of living, Meg and Zenta created CIBI as a concept that is a blend of their experience in food, wine, design and architecture. Japanese sensibilities and their evolving Australian lifestyles are combined to create a world that is warm and welcoming while at the same time exciting and refreshing. Above all else everything should appeal to the three elements that drive CIBI: the head, hands and heart.

Say the Tanakas, “When we can’t find exactly what we want, we make it. CIBI creates a range of original products from lifestyle and fashion to furniture and architecture. We believe designs should be simple, functional and efficient and at the same time warm, inviting and intriguing to elicit a response of joy and appreciation.”

More than simply a Japanese cafe Melbourne, CIBI is a warm and welcoming world of it’s own.

CIBI, 33–39 Keele Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, Vic, Australia. Open Mon-Fri 7.30am-5pm; Sat, Sun 8am–5pmcibi.com.au

japanese cafe melbourne cibi
japanese cafe melbourne cibi
japanese cafe melbourne cibi
japanese cafe melbourne cibi
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