Cibi is a Collingwood institution. Couple Zenta and Meg Tanaka opened the Japanese cafe and lifestyle concept store back in 2008, and a second Cibi in Tokyo in 2017. It’s known for selling beautiful homewares and furniture, and serving popular Japanese breakfast sets (even Harry Styles stopped in for one).
The signature breakfast is grilled salmon, tamagoyaki (a layered and rolled omelette), vegetables, potato salad, rice and miso soup. Around lunch, the mismatched dining tables and chairs are dotted with diners quietly eating a slice of pound cake or catching up over a meal. Options include the evergreen chicken soboro bowl (a rice bowl with greens and minced chicken), vegetable curry and the Cibi lunch plate with salmon, seasonal vegetables, salad, pickles and rice. The yuzu miso, rice blends and condiments are all house-made.
For those struggling with the eternal “What should I have for lunch?” question, Cibi Grocer also offers takeaway lunches. There are homemade salmon, chicken and veggie bento boxes, as well as salads like daikon and lotus-root chips with yuzu-mayo dressing, and carrot, yellow beans, broccoli and mixed leaves with yuzu-miso.
If you’re a Cibi superfan, you might already have the cookbook and want to whip up your own lunch. In that case, you can grab produce and Cibi’s own condiments, including sweet miso, tamari soy sauce and roasted sesame seeds.
There’s also a coffee bar for takeaway brews made using the cafe’s own blend, plus a pastry case where you’ll find cheese straws with yuzu pepper, yuzu palmiers, brekkie rolls and more. And as the afternoon draws nearer, you can also order an aperitif or a glass of Cibi wine.
At the back of the space is Cibi Home, which stocks ceramics, homewares and furniture. There’s Noguchi lampshades made from washi paper, bamboo and steel wire; clocks from Japanese brand Lemnos; and the Sori Yanagi-designed butterfly stool. There are also hard-to-find pieces by Tendo Mokko, a Japanese furniture brand renowned for pieces made from formed plywood – often with curved detailing – and most famous for its mushroom stool.
Gift the experience of Australia's
best restaurants, cafes and bars