Cafe, designer's paradise and overall very cute space Cibi is expanding. Having spent the past decade on Keele Street in Collingwood, it has outgrown the original site — filling it to the brim with Japanese homewares and cafe customers — but it won't be moving far. Just a few hundred metres down the same street, actually.
Taking up residence in a huge, 800-square-metre warehouse, which was once a garment factory, Cibi will be able to stretch out across a space four times the size of the original. Although the word "cibi" means "little one" in Japanese, little it won't be any longer.
Sticking with the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (acceptance of beauty in imperfection), the warehouse will have exposed beams, concrete and brick finishes, with owners Meg and Zenta Tanaka purposefully leaving things untouched.
Previously focusing on Japanese homewares and a minimal Japanese-inspired cafe offering, Cibi will add a third notch to its belt at the new site, with the introduction of pantry staples. Using local seasonal produce, Meg will be bottling up a variety of goods in the new spacious kitchen and delivering them straight into your hands — expect pickles, sauces condiments and locally made tofu.
The cafe will be expanding its cafe menu, too, with food available from breakfast through to afternoon tea. You'll also be able to try dishes for the store's recently published cookbook, Cibi: Simple Japanese-Inspired Meals to Share with Family and Friends, and its super-popular Japanese Breakfast — with grilled salmon, omelette, seasonal greens, rice and miso soup — will be now available every morning, instead of just weekends.
In terms of the homewares, the brands exclusively imported by Cibi (such as Hakusan porcelain and Sori Yanagi cutlery) will be built on, with the addition of larger items — such as furniture — and more brands. And Zenta will explore one-off collaborations with local artists and designs, expanding on the popularity of the Cibi drinking glass.
While you're in store, you'll be able to snag green babies for your home from The Plant Society or get a painting framed by United Measures, who'll both be taking up residency in the space. And for the future? Cooking lessons, Meg hopes, thanks to the larger kitchen, as well as other workshops and special events.
Cibi will open at its new location at 31–39 Keele Street, Collingwood in early October.