Restaurant opens in historic Christchurch building

A prohibition-era themed Indian restaurant has opened in Isaac House, one of Christchurch’s most prominent restored heritage buildings. The restaurant will have a soft launch this week before a full launch next week.

Anup and Sadhana Nathu purchased the building last year with the intention of fitting out the lower floors as a restaurant and leasing out the top floors as office space. The pair have been heavily involved in the Christchurch hospitality scene since the early 1990s, opening the Tandoori Palace restaurant brand while Anup was a Canterbury representative cricket player. Their last opening, Mumbaiwala in 2016, gave them confidence in the city.

“We'd sort of said that Mumbaiwala would be our last project but when we were given the opportunity to have a look at this site, what really got it over the line was the ability to be owner-occupier.”

Nathu said that owning the building gave them a sort of insurance against the problems that have plagued the Christchurch hospitality scene since the earthquakes. They would not have any issues with rent and would build equity for when times got tough.

“Our family's got a reputation of offering quality food at reasonable prices, and excellent service, and if you do those things, and do them well, that lends itself to success.”

The heritage-listed Isaac House was once the National Bank but has been empty since the earthquakes.