Ivory Station

The Banyan Tree Cafe at IF.BE has all-day breakfast and a good selection of salads, juices and smoothies

Banyan Tree Cafe IF.BE

The Banyan Tree Cafe at IF.BE has all-day breakfast and a good selection of salads, juices and smoothies

The Banyan Tree Cafe in Mumbai’s new experiential art, design and cultural space IF.BE is a cosy, inviting space that will soon become art lovers’ adda

By Riddhi Doshi

The majestic, 140-year-old banyan tree inside an old ice factory, is now an experiential art, design and culture space IF.BE (Ice Factory ballard Pier), Mumbai, has so many stories to tell, of the once buzzing factory, of the old architects who gave this structure the magnificent wooden roof; It’s made with German technology we are told; and the people who worked there.

Banyan Tree Cafe If.Be

The Banyan Tree Cafe serves street-style food as mains.

The Banyan Tree

It’s the very tree that caught Malik Architecture’s Principal Architect Kamal Malik’s attention as well. But when he saw it, it was suffocating within the walls of the factory. So, he and his partners, Abhijeet Mehta a construction development and project management consultant and Amardeep ‘Tony’ Singh a renowned hotelier and experienced F&B professional, decided to give it a new lease of life. Today, it stands tall in all its glory in its buzzing home, a 10,000-sq-ft art, design and architecture space, which reminisces the olden days. The new people of the space have conserved all its brick walls, its roof of steel and bison board, cut and staggered to let in north and east light, and some of the ice factory’s machines, and stones that have become modern chairs.

And the banyan tree, right in the centre of the courtyard, is once again privy to stories of modern-day love, work-life balance struggles, students’ dilemmas, artists’ process of creation and great food conversations of people enjoying their time at the very inviting, cosy cafe named after it – The Banyan Tree Cafe, an all-day cafe which serves healthy and delicious fare. Its best feature, a scrumptious breakfast menu, also all day and some yum juices and smoothies.

Banyan Tree Cafe if.be

The refreshing Good Vibes salad.

The Banyan Tree Cafe, with its brick wall, soft, natural light, comfortable seating and pleasing-to-eye interiors is a kind of place you might want to pick for quiet, retrospective conversations with long, lost friends, to work in peace or to grab a quick bite, given its pocket-friendly prices.

I too visited the cafe with a fellow journalist and a friend whom I hadn’t met in a long time. We undoubtedly had a great conversation and a good meal.


We started Good Vibes, a sunny bowl of avocado, orange, radicchio, frisée and rocket leaves, tossed with a splash of lemon vinaigrette and studded with dried cranberries. Very fresh and energising. They also have Back to Balsamic – a Spanish escalivada-style salad with grilled veggies marinated in balsamic, tossed with caramelised almonds and sautéed kale. When in Italy, has basil, plum tomatoes, balsamic reduction, pesto and a handful of microgreens. And Trip to Chinatown is a punchy chicken salad that has bok choy, carrot, onion, spring onion, cucumber and tomatoes, drizzled with a coriander root dressing and garnished with crushed peanuts. Indulge in Casablanca is a Moroccan-style chicken salad with bell peppers, onion, dates, parsley and couscous. Escape on a tropical getaway with Beach has calamari tossed with Asian slaw and sesame seeds, drenched in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce and Bacon Me Crazy; bacon meets freshly-cut Granny Smith apples, baby spinach, mixed greens, walnuts doused with Dijon mustard. They also have the option to make your own salad.

All-day breakfast

From their all-day breakfast menu, we chose the prize-winning, soft and just perfectly done pancakes. They also have poached eggs served with wilted kale, grilled tomatoes and hash browns. The Breakfast Club is a traditional English fried egg with country toast, baked beans and chicken sausage. A breakfast menu is incomplete without waffles French toast with fruit compote available in your preferred bread doused in skimmed milk, egg and served with a mixed fruit compote.


The mains on the menu are heavily inspired by Mumbai street food at this cafe placed right in the midst of city’s biggest commercial areas. Bite into local toasties like Bombay Bhaji, Mutton Kheema and Masala Prawns or order healthy meals like The No- Meat Cheat which has grilled tofu with herb jus and basil, served with garlic mash and sautéed veggies; The Griller has grilled chicken with herb jus, garlic mash and sautéed veggies or the Salmon Says with Grilled Atlantic salmon served with lemon butter sauce and mashed potatoes. We tried the highly recommended Bombay stuffed potato sandwich, which was delicious, alright, but not as tangy and spicy that’s available on Mumbai streets. I like mine served with oodles of green and red chutney.

The cafe has refreshing juices, smoothies and a special keto milkshake.

Juices and smoothies

And now I need some juice. The juice and smoothie selection at the cafe is pretty impressive. Oh, Honey blends honeydew melon and pomegranate. The Sunset Squeeze is a fresh blend of Apple, Orange and ginger. D-Tox is a mix of spinach, carrot, cucumber, tomato, celery and mint. The Green Junkie smoothie mixes baby spinach, kiwi, basil, mango pulp and lemon juice. Strawberry Skies has strawberry, mint, roasted almonds, rice crisps and greek yoghurt. They also have All Things Keto milkshake with mixed berries, baby spinach and coconut milk. Thumbs up to all of these.

About IF.BE
The space has five sections. First is the The Banyan Tree Cafe. The Substation will serve as a reading room and shop for fine architectural instruments and books. The Ice Factory proper is designed for performances and The Cathedral is the primary exhibition space. Soon, IF.BE will also have a bar and fine dining Indian restaurant called Native Bombay.

Address: Ground Floor, IF.BE, 7/9, Calicut Street, Ballard Estate Fort, Mumbai – 400 001
Timings: 8 AM to 9 PM
For Reservations: 9619033000
The average price for two – ₹1000

You must also read

Binge, a Mexican Tapas restaurant is a perfect Friday night hangout spot with friends