Silver Beach Café in Juhu is an inspired place – it is simple enough for the casual coffee-lover to hang out in, and elegant enough for a gourmand to indulge his tastes in.
How many cafes does a city need? There can’t be a convincing answer to this. But if more places like Silver Beach Café are in the offing, the number can happily swell.
Located in a genteel bye lane in Juhu, this café started with the unlikely twin aims of being a “pristine” yet “cute” hangout place. This is a well-heeled corner of a gargantuan metropolis, so having a cosmopolitan business outlook is wise. The look of this café just about steers clear from being confused, to ultimately looking earnest and eclectic. It is simple in its approach and honest in acknowledging its inspirations. Conceptualised by Mumbai-based Minnie Bhatt Design, this coffee place is non-fussy and approachable, just what a hangout should be.
A yellow lamp post outside the café welcomes its guests, setting the stage for European bistro nostalgia. The establishment is framed by glass, looking like a greenhouse that must be suffused with coffee and food smells. There is a bench outside, and two hanging logs, the latter inspired by Swiss design ethics.
Passers-by have a good view of this café’s low-lit, wooden interiors, and the cosier upper-floor seating area. The visual advantages, though, are more for the ones seated inside; they look out to a lofty canopy of banyan trees through which brilliant sunlight streams right in.
The interior scheme is simple, all deep browns and moody yellow lighting. In classical American deli style, there are wide cushioned sofas on one side, and single chairs and smaller tables on the other. The ‘booth-like’ seating is in honour of The Godfather, what with its conspiratorial aura and hanging single lamps.
The back-rest cushions are strapped on by long belts, a detail that transforms the sofa from plain to edgy.
Walls are mostly bare, and textured wooden beams hold up the ceiling. The café is not just for the latte-and-sandwich crowd. It is keen to serve the well-travelled residents of its neighbourhood as well, so it has a glocal menu and a comprehensive wine list to boot. A 15-ft high wine cabinet on one end dispels all doubts about what it is capable of serving.
Everything has an open, refreshing feel here. The exterior is in touching distance, thanks to the glass encasing. The initial idea was to install French windows, but luckily the designers leaned towards a complete glass covering. The kitchen is separated by glass too, forming another point of view for the foodies to indulge in.
The upper floor is slightly more informal in its tenor. It has both upholstered benches and single chairs, with small cushions of varied prints and colours peppered about. The lighting is hushed and private all across the place, but this puts the bright surroundings in contradictory perspective.
Minnie Bhatt Design, founded in 2007, has made it a habit to conjure up spaces that are low on frill and high on substance. The commercial and residential projects the firm takes up are always defined by an insistence on using empty floor space as a statement of design. The walls are always patterned with either glass or paintings, and colour is loved, though in careful combinations. By these standards, Silver Beach Café is a poster child. It reinforces the firm’s commitment to good design, and lets the overall effect then take over.
Text By Shruti Nambiar
Photographs Courtesy The Architect