Can't curry on: Mantra owner Shammi Sandhu


A popular Arrowtown restaurateur’s put her business on the market as she’s done her dash.

Shammi Sandhu’s had the town’s only Indian restaurant, Mantra, since 2006, but has
been in local hospitality since ‘94, when she opened Queenstown’s former Little India.

She says she’s ‘‘just so emotionally drained’’ since her husband, Maninderjit Singh Sandhu, aka ‘MJS’, died three months ago.

‘‘It’s just time to fold down and declutter my mind, it’s time for me to hang up my pinny.’’

The restaurant business, she says, is 24/7 — ‘‘I’ve always been hands-on, right now I’m in the kitchen to continue to maintain standards’’.

Having formerly operated as part of a chain, Sandhu, 67, says Mantra’s enabled her to
be creative.

‘‘And of course Arrowtown has been such an amazing opportunity, without doubt — it seems to be like a preferred dining destination.’’

She’s listed the restaurant with local ABC Business Sales broker Donna Harpur-Swain for $250,000, ‘‘which I think is very fair and reasonable’’.

Sandhu says she’s not hung up if someone doesn’t want to keep the premises as an
Indian restaurant.

‘‘If someone thinks they want the name ‘Mantra’, that’s fine, but I think it’s always nice if someone’s buying to create their own mark.’’

She stresses she’s not selling to do anything else.

‘‘I’m selling it because my mind and body and my whole sense of being just need to completely slow down.’’