Dark beige simplicity, a globally-inspired menu, and the whiff of subtle south Indian flavours emanating from the kitchen - such is the experience offered by Cardboard. The newest cafe to occupy its space in Mumbai’s ever-growing gastronomical scene, Cardboard stays true to its name and how. A responsible initiative with interiors made entirely out of recyclable cardboard (who would’ve thought?), the cafe is a collaboration between the BAD Management sibling-duo Amit and Bhavna Dhanani and Thyme & Reason Hospitality’s Shilpa Tulaskar and Vishal Shetty.
A casual dining concept that emerged as an antithesis to BKC’s fine dining landscape with a focus on sustainability and the philosophy of “Create. Consume. Change”, Cardboard is where innovation comes alive. From the curved movements of the inside walls to the comfortable seating to the light fixtures, everything here is fabricated using cardboard. Designed by architect Nuru Karim of NUDES, the cafe feels both like an experience as well as an installation, with a side of delicious food to keep you company.
When asked about how the idea of using cardboard came about, the duo tells us “It was Nuru Karim, our architect’s idea. Cardboard is a 100% recyclable and renewable material. Cardboard is primarily made up of 50% air. It’s that void, texturing and corrugation that we really wanted to explore.” Moreover, owing to the material’s versatility, the co-founders also wanted to explore the same through a range of products within the cafe space.
However, trying to innovate in responsible ways is not an easy task. Too often it’s time-consuming and not as cost-effective from a business point of view. “We always knew we were taking a big risk with it but together we were willing to take the gamble. For Nuru and his team and contractors, building with cardboard meant constant exploration and investigation of the material. They approached the material as a student would - diving into research and prototyping that included creating digital and analogue models.”, the co-founders tell us. The main challenges included fabrication and stringent timelines within which the team had to operate to make Cardboard happen. For sourcing the material, the team tied up with Haresh Mehta of Jayna Packaging who played an integral role in bringing the project to fruition.
Another lesser-known fact about the material is that it has really great insulating properties, making sure that an experience at Cardboard is refreshing and unperturbed. The cafe’s menu too is playful and wholesome, with coffee that is handpicked by the owners and roasted specially to suit the Cardboard experience and comes in a variety of styles like stout, cortado, bon bon etc. Other menu delights include a puff pastry with prawns and a hoisin mayo drizzle (Bam!!!), sweet potato patty, koi, and an apple, ginger, coconut yogurt pickle called Turntable (cue The Office fans!), and a classic brioche with malta and brandy.
“Our healthy juices are also designed by density going from thin to thick inspired again by our layers of cardboard,” the partners tell Homegrown.
But what truly completes the experience is that the team behind Cardboard is dedicated towards creating an environment that is inclusive of both solo diners as well as those who walk in with the intention of socialising. “We want our customers to always feel comforted whether they are alone, sipping a coffee, or working away at their laptop or whether they are dining with others”, they add. Designed solely to make a comfortable and responsible dining experience that is close to home and free of any pretentiousness, Cardboard’s aesthetic interiors and a classic menu is currently talk of the town and with good reason.
Where: Adani Inspire, G Block, Bandra, Kurla Complex, Mumbai.
Time: 8 am - 11 pm, open all 7 days a week.
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