Review of CIBI cafe & select shop (Published in www.broadsheet.com.au)

Cibi

45 Keele st

Collingwood VIC 3066

Opening Hours  (winter):

Mon – Fri: 8.00am to 5.30pm

Sat: 9.00am to 5pm

A visit to Cibi was not without expectation. This café, gift store and gallery space has received a series of rave reviews for its honest and delicate approach to food and its restrained but ultimately stylish interior – no doubt due to the owner Zenta Tanaka’s previous occupation as an architect. Clever little design touches and objects such as an old Apple Mac used as a doorstop and vintage road bike accent an interior that is more about the sum of its eclectic parts rather than a heavily stylised fit-out.

With multiple seating options from large communal tables to vintage bench seats there are many ways to whittle away the hours with a cup of Romcaffe coffee in hand. Unsurprisingly Cibi has built up a reputation for its Japanese breakfast which is served only on Saturdays and for $14.50 appears excellent value. Made up of a homemade hearty miso soup with root vegetables, tofu and seaweed, followed by a delicately presented offering of rice, shiozake (salt cured grilled salmon), with sides of potato salad, mini slivers of cucumber and perfectly formed ovals of tamago (egg roll) it’s a great way to start the day. The vegetarian version comes with wonderfully warming simmered pumpkin nimono which satisfies due to its balance of saltiness and inherent sweetness.

The other food on offer is also similarly light, with a beautiful soba noodle salad accented with cherry tomatoes and finely diced green olives bathed in a dashi and soy dressing, sourdough toast with a wonderfully mustardy potato and egg salad and a tofu burger topped with shiso leaf. The Japanese breakfast is based off Meg Tanaka’s grandmother’s recipe which makes Cibi a little slice of Tokyo in the quiet back streets of Collingwood.

Copyright Leon Goh & Broadsheet.com.au 2010

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