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If good food is your religion, then the new arrival on Antwerp’s dining scene will definitely make you want to pray. Dutch design studio Piet Boon has recently completed the transformation of the church of a former military hospital into The Jane, a gourmet destination that combines fine dining with a rock ‘n roll aesthetic. Behind the project are Michelin-star chef Sergio Herman and his right-hand man, chef Nick Bril, who have been working closely for over two years with Piet Boon and a team of designers to create the new restaurant in a way that combines refinement and elegance with healthy doses of attitude, humour and punch.
The Jane opened in March 2014, and consists of a main dining area (which occupies the church’s main hall and can sit 65) and a bar on the upper floor simply called The Upper Room Bar – which also serves light snacks prepared behind the bar. The kitchen (where 29-year-old Nick Bril will be in charge) has been placed under the magnificent apse, where the altar used to be, and is encased within glass walls making the entire cooking process visible to patrons. Various tattoo-inspired engravings decorate the stainless steel surfaces of the kitchen, while a light installation in the shape of a skull overlooks the restaurant’s patrons with a big grin from high above. The designers chose to preserve much of the church’s original materials and features, such as the intricate mosaics on the floor and the arched ceiling – with the latter’s beautifully aged colours contrasted against the pristine furniture and spotless walls below.
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