04 Nov For Community Release: Thandi Restaurant taking it up another design notch!

For Community Release:
Saint John – Thursday, November 5th, 2015

After almost 10 years since Holly and Ken Singh opened their doors to Thandi Restaurant, they’re proud to announce another design makeover in the works on their main floor. Beginning at midnight on November 7th, 2015, the restaurant will be closed for a five-day renovation.  It will open again at 5:00 pm — for the ‘big reveal’ — on Thursday, November 12th 2015.

The Singhs updated the bar in Thandi just over two years ago, rebranding the bar (designed by Judith Mackin and her team) ‘the Santara‘.  Just over a year ago Mackin and Singh collaborated on the new House of Chan Design in the Valley.


Photo: Sean McGrath – The Santara Bar
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Photo: Kelly Lawson – House of Chan / Quispamsis
“Saint John has evolved over the last eight years” explains Holly Singh,”It’s a more inclusive, multi-cultural community. We see it in our restaurant daily. And, we felt it was time see those changes reflected in a progressive design and to reflect modern day India, not a north American interpretation of that. We asked Judith how we could accomplish this through a new design.”

Mackin, whose history is long entrenched in the visual arts, suggested that they look at well-known photographer Mark Hemmings’s work in that he has travelled extensively in India. “I knew that Mark would capture India in a way that is authentic,” Mackin said.

After pouring through dozens of Hemming’s photos, Mackin landed on three particular images and is essentially using  them as the springboard for the entire main floor renovation.  When the restaurant renovation is complete visitors will see this image below placed predominately in a larger than life mural installation.  Mackin says “the motion, the colour, the flames in the photograph reflects the nature of Thandi restaurant – lots of fast-pace movement with staff, customers, open-flame cooking in the kitchen — essentially a busy restaurant constantly full of chatter and laughter!’

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The new design will keep the existing bar and lights, but the central island will be replaced from bar height to a new counter height communal table designed by Mackin and built by Elwoods Wood Lab.  The team is working with other locals, including new seating and stools custom built by Tim Hunter/Artizan Group and modern light fixtures and furnishings through Tuck Studio.

Holly Singh embraces the movement happening in the uptown core, noting that it’s important for she and Ken to ‘be constantly reinventing ourselves and offering new experiences for our customers.”

Shortly after the restaurant reopens on Thursday, November 12th at 5:00 pm, Singh and Mackin will be announcing a new movement, a social design project to the mix, named ‘TABLE TO ENABLE’ which will serve the greater Saint John Community in need.

Fun Fact:  During the renovations the Punch Inside team has created a window display called “Sneak Peaks.’  Viewers can literally look inside the round peep holes in the brown paper.  Inside they can watch local trades such as Elevation Contractors, Duncan’s Electrical, InColour Inc.  A1Upholstery, and Legacy Painters working in real time over the five-day-renovation!


Photo: Christiana drawing the Himalaya Mountains, complete with peep holes.

For further information please contact:

Judith Mackin 647.7469 or Holly Singh 643-0988.

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  • Jane Walsh

    kudos to the Singhs and Judith! love the concept of authentic indian design via Mark Hemmings images. I am looking forward to the laughter-filled meals you mention! I also can’t wait to see the Elwood’s island!!

    • Thanks Jane! We are very excited too. – up soon – your office makeover!!!

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