After many weeks of indulging in my hedonistic lifestyle at many cafes, Konk’s editor Thomas Van Abildgaard (catch him live at Creamfields) insists that I earn my pay (pipe tobacco) by letting fly another one of my derelict reviews. It’s easy enough for me to go to the well known cafes and rave like any other critic muppet, so allow me to inform you of one of the secret wonders of Melbourne.
Jeff Green – “You love your cafes in Melbourne… what is it, one each?”
Melbourne likes its cafes like my girlfriend and I like eating fatty food while watching The Biggest Loser. I was of the opinion that the abundance of coffee houses was a bad thing as I found that most of them were terrible. It’s like “Oh you serve Lavazza? I don’t care, this is rubbish.”
However, of late, my opinion has changed because I’ve realised that there are many great cafes out amongst the crap… it’s just that they’re hidden. Take Cibi for example.
- Cibi is well and truly hidden. Unless you know where you’re going or you’re carrying the Marauders Map, forget finding it. You need to take a well-timed right off Smith in Collingwood, then while you tiptoe around the seringes and fixies keep your eyes open for a completely plain building that looks like every other one.
- Cibi is indier than thou. The scattered floor plan with arbitrarily chosen furniture integrated with the relaxed, informal nature of the staff and their attire gives the cafe such an unbuttoned, ramshackle (oh yeah) vibe that reeks of converse all-stars and Albert Hammond Jrn.’s guitar tone in ‘Is This It?’ It’s not a bad thing, but it helps if you like that kind of scene. It’s the kind of place you could sit reading or working on an assignment all day.
- The simple, light menu isn’t going to fill you up to the point of requiring an impromptu mid-afternoon food nap. This is both a positive and a negative. You might find yourself heading down Smith afterwards in search of second breakfast, but the delicious sandwiches or the amazing bircher museli with fruit salad will leave you feeling refreshed like the feeling you get when there is actually something good on Triple J.
- The coffee is ok. It’s not a specialty coffee place so I’m not going to get my caffiendish high that I’m constantly chasing much like the many small asians chasing their gambling losses in the kilometres of pokie machines in Crown. However, as far as your everyday cafe coffee goes, it’s passable. (I found myself walking to Proud Mary afterwards for a fill up).
- There’s some Japanese Kitchen/Homewares stall area to the side of the cafe. It looks nice, but I can’t see myself paying thirty buck for some cutlery with some Japanese scriblings. Hell, I go to Sushi Sushi… I don’t give a shit.
- I can’t tell if the waitress was flirting with Thomas and I or if I was just more socially awkward than normal.
It may seem like I’ve painted Cibi out to be quite bland, but believe me, as soon as you go there you’ll understand. All together, it’s a lovely place and definitely a cafe you should have up your sleeve for whenever you’re trolling through unsavory Collingwood. Cibi is a Konk Classic.
Coffee – 6/12
Cafe – 11/12
Photos by Max Denton, there are more here.