Our philosophy

CIBI is the love and life of Meg and Zenta Tanaka.

Created as an expression of their way of living, CIBI is a concept that is a blend of their experience in food, wine, design and architecture. Japanese sensibilities and their evolving Australian lifestyles are combined to create a world that is warm and welcoming at the same it is exciting and refreshing. Above all else it should appeal to the three driving elements that drive drive CIBI; the head, hands and heart.

(Based loosely on the 3 key Japanese elements (衣食住) required for enjoying your personal environment and bringing happiness to daily life.)

Head, Hands, Heart
Not just clever alliteration, CIBI products are designed and made to appeal to the head, hands and heart.

Whether ifood, design or architecture, CIBI aims to provide products and services that enrich the lives of all our customers, friends and family.

CIBI – A little one.

In Japanese, cibi means ‘a little one.’ There was a time when we were all cibi, enjoying that pure and innocent time in life when we could do whatever we liked. 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. And with a natural sense of delight, cibi always fill a space with warmth.

CIBI celebrates those precious times and pleasurable moments, when everything was fresh and full of possibility, reaching out to touch the child in all of us. CIBI brings out your ‘little one’, to refresh your curiosity, encourage a sense of discovery and create the warm feeling of a special place.

CIBI Food philosophy - A celebration of local produce and culture

Meg says: “I grew up in a traditional Japanese small town, living with my relatively large family in a compact neighbourhood, relatives always close by and where everyone ate locally and seasonally. The growing, cooking and enjoyment of food was closely aligned with the changing seasons, and deeply embedded in our lives.

Each season was known for its vegetables, fruit, river fish and seafood, starting with the sprouts of wild mountain vegetables in spring, through summer greens, to autumn pumpkins and the all-important rice harvest. Seafood and river fish had their own cycle of what is running and best eating throughout the seasons. Everyone had their own plots, so a flow of fresh produce and seafood was exchanged between family and friends throughout the year, with the excess preserved naturally and stored to add variety and ensure a healthy balance.

Today we treasure this approach to food, but as a cibi (little one) that’s just how it was. It came naturally to eat local and fresh, because it was the best and cheapest — as well as the tastiest because most of it went straight into the kitchen and never even got as far as the fridge. There were no packaged foods because everything we needed was available.

The art of presentation, from hearty winter one-pot dishes through to elaborate New Year’s feasts, also reflected local arts, crafts and manufacture in the selection of pottery, wood and metal dishes that we used. It is a growing cycle, cooking and eating culture that has evolved locally in towns and cities throughout Japan for many centuries. No wonder it came naturally!

Living in a big city you can easily forget how good the quality of simple, local living was. At CIBI, our cooking is a direct expression of the Japanese food culture I grew up with. Starting with quality rice as the base, we match a variety of ingredients from fresh vegetables, fish, and meats through to seaweeds and beans, to create simple, thoughtful and balanced meals.”

CAFE

CIBI cafe - Welcome to simple heart-warming cooking
We all know how food can bring us together, warm our hearts and fill our stomachs at the same time. The CIBI café is the result of all our values, philosophies, loves and designs coming together to create a space that is warm and inviting.

Wholesome food, aromatic coffee, eclectic furniture, welcoming decor and warm conversation, CIBI is a space where people can gather and chat – enjoy food and inspire each other, and take their discoveries and treasures home with them.

On the weekends, we serve special Japanese breakfast plates inspired by my grandmother’s home cooking. It’s a treat of Japanese home cooking that touches on childhood flavours and way of life.

EVENTS AND SPACES

CIBI kitchen - At the heart of special occasions
Beyond the CIBI kitchen, we enjoy bringing our food and eating philosophy to a small number of outside events. Our thoughtful menus, stylish dishes, and warm service can enhance the enjoyment of your special occasion.

We love to tailor the menu and service to each event, using cultural and seasonal cues to create a memorable presentation and meal. Each menu is born of the belief that the food we cherish everyday is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We aim to excite and please our eyes, intellect, body and soul.

Some events can be seen here.

CIBI Store

The CIBI store focuses on essential goods that you can treasure like a child. When searching for new items to carry, the CIBI team looks for things that have a special appeal, that attract the eye, stimulates the curiosity, and will be a ‘keeper’. We take personal delight in our range of products that tick these boxes.

Japanese artisan ware.

Our fine pieces made by Japanese artisans are imbued with tradition, culture, and history. These select products are not only made with expertise, but with the elusive notion of ‘iki’, a kind of ephemeral expression of simplicity, spontaneity and unselfconsciousness. These products are the result of and appeal to the head, hands and heart, giving them an essential quality and warmth you can treasure for life and feel a special attachment to.

Our pieces offer excellent value by combining production processes that provide large-scale consistency with the quality and attention of small, handcrafted lines.

CIBI original goods - Creating the things we’d love to have

When we can’t find exactly what we want, we make it. CIBI creates a range of original products from lifestyle and fashion to furniture and architecture. We believe designs should be simple, functional and efficient and at the same time warm, inviting and intriguing to elicit a response of joy and appreciation.