Note: This is from a trip to Tokyo I made just before COVID. It is part of a series of posts about hot chocolates I had in Japan.
I woke up this morning and decided to just start walking, in any direction, and see what I discovered. It only took 100 m before I discovered my first stop; a piece of Australia in Japan. CIBI was started by Meg and Zenta Tanaka in Melbourne in 2008 and then this second café was opened in 2017 in Tokyo. It has a blend of Japanese sensibilities and Australian lifestyle and the mix of my two favourite styles is a winner. The word CIBI means ‘little one’ in Japanese. As their website explains, “Cibi are always curious, looking and touching all sorts of things, exploring and playing with different objects in myriad and often unexpected ways; we treasured our favourite things.”
This is the feel you get when you enter CIBI. It is warm, bright and full of little jewels for sale, spread out across several tables, inviting you to take a look and feel. The food is just as beautiful and is a celebration of local produce.
Having already filled myself up with a traditional Japanese breakfast that morning in preparation for my day of walking, I stopped for a hot chocolate. I’m glad I did. They serve the same hot chocolate here as they do in Melbourne which they told me is from a Melbourne hot chocolate mix. Considering how many amazing hot chocolate mixes there are in Melbourne (Mork, Grounded Pleasures, Monsieur Truffle to name but a few), this can only be a good thing. (I also loved that a cafe outside of Australia can now not only show off that they have a Melbourne coffee culture but also a Melbourne hot chocolate culture!) I enjoyed mine while taking in the beautiful space and planning out how I could set up my life so that I had a studio that looked just like this space (preferably with CIBI Food available on demand too). In the winter the cafe also often offers a spicy chili hot chocolate with cardamon.
Perhaps most importantly, Cibi is located in the Yanesen neighbourhood which is one of my favourite part of Tokyo! I have written a longer post about the area here.
Verdict: A little piece of Melbourne in Tokyo. They also have a gorgeous cookbook if you want to try to recreate the CIBI experience at home until you can travel here. CIBI Tokyo, 37-11 Sendagi 3-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.