Food, Art, and Design Converge at This Chapel-Turned-Restaurant
In the Belgian city of Antwerp, The Jane serves up fine dining with a bit of rock ’n’ roll.

When chef Sergio Herman and his former second-in-command turned chef/partner Nick Brill opened The Jane, the restaurant of their dreams, it had about everyone on both sides of the Atlantic talking about, with its dramatic setting and interiors styled by venerated Dutch design studio Piet Boon.

Sergio Herman and Nick Brill

Housed in the old chapel of a military hospital, what was once an altar has been replaced by The Jane’s glass-encased kitchen, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to a shrine in the temple of fine dining where food is the new religion. No expense nor creative impulse was spared—above the apse, a neon skull by South African artist Kendell Geers illuminates the room along with the restaurant’s defining chandelier created by Lebanese studio PSLAB. Named “Lion Fish,” the 800-kilogram light measures 12 by 9 meters and is the product of clever artistry and modern day engineering. One hundred fifty bulbs sit at the end of soaring metal spikes that reach as high as the restaurant’s cathedral ceiling. The soft light casts shadows around the room, giving prominence to the playful stained-glass windows with images reflecting life and death, food and religion, and range from birthday cakes and ice cream cones to penguins and gas masks that add bursts of color and humor to the otherwise neutral room styled in stone, oak, leather, and brass.

Inside The Jane

Not a complete departure from Oud Sluis cuisine—which had closed its doors in 2013—the food still reflects Herman’s classic style and aesthetic, but allows him and Brill to be more creative, and, at times, impulsive. The menu is offered in exquisitely plated courses and the diner chooses from a three-, five-, or seven-course selection. Lines are blurred between starters and entrées as each dish arrives at the table with its own culinary and visual narrative. Dishes reference a global palate and the flavors are both fresh and complex. Highlights include the bak kut teh, Thai salmon tartare, and the grilled Holstein beef. A carefully curated list of wine and craft beer pairings offers a range in price points so the diner can customize his beverage selection throughout the meal.

On the second level, The Upper Room Bar, where the playlist is amplified, offers a wide selection of special cocktails and late-evening snacks.

Paradeplein 1, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium, 32.3.808.4465; thejaneantwerp.com.

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Alicia Colby Sy
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