A Melbourne food lover and explorer. Invite me over for an honest review!
Published September 19th 2012
Colourful cosy cafe in Collingwood
CIBI is a modern Australian cafe, taking shape in a charmingly renovated warehouse in the quiet neighbourhood of Collingwood. It's not an ordinary cafe, though. Full of organic energy, a carefully designed table set, and well-groomed waiters, the scene is set to deliver the delicate flavours of breakfast. Sampling their Saturday special was a positive surprise. Among entries of well-balanced western plates, "traditional Japanese breakfast" is listed with a subtle gesture that it is the recommendation of the house.
The Japanese traditionally see their breakfast as the day's major source of nutrients. Packed with high-quality protein, grilled salmon, tamagoyaki eggs, and variety of veggies on the side are flavors to accompany a bowl of rice and warm miso soup. At CIBI, the delightful choice of mineral-rich brown rice is good news to the health conscious, and miso soup is filled with colourful collection of vegetables. A platter of natto or fermented soy, sour plum umeboshi, nori seaweed, and pickled veggies is an option to be added for a fuller experience.
To accompany the variety, try one of the refreshing Japanese teas. Either green tea, roasted hoji tea, or genmai tea, they come brewed in a perfect one-person teapot to keep warm throughout your meal.
At CIBI, the high-ceiling interior is adequately supplied with natural sunlight. Hanging out in such a comfortable space over brunch is a quality weekend experience, and that invites the thought of topping the breakfast with a sweet addition. Green tea muffin, ordered from their countertop, is faintly fragrant with butter and sweet with bits of embedded red beans. It is enjoyable with warm tea or coffee.
CIBI is a design store on top of the immediate function as a cafe. Design conscious kitchen appliances, plates, pots, and silverware, including ones you use to eat at their cafe, are tastefully laid out. Some of the products are recipient of Good Design Award, a qualified plaque, prized for achieving both visual and functional beauty. Owner Zenta Tanaka commented, "my wife and I personally select them to bring over from Japan."
Stylish items displayed at the design shop are sure to be appreciated as gifts or quite easily picked out as a lifestyle enhancer to use at your house.