A restaurant converted from a church into a temple of high gastronomy in Antwerp has been named the most beautiful dining destination for 2015.
Food lovers who likewise appreciate good design may want to bookmark The Jane restaurant in Belgium, after it was named the Best Overall Restaurant at the seventh edition of the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards in London Thursday night.
Diners at The Jane will recognize its past as the chapel of a former military hospital in the architectural skeleton of the building, with its second-story balcony, soaring stained glass windows and towering dome.
But in place of pews, saints and crucifixes, the Dutch designers at Piet Boon hung an illuminating skull from the ceiling; inserted window panes featuring plates of drumsticks, hardboiled eggs and smiling sunflowers; and replaced uncomfortable wood benches with leather sofas and chaises.
And where once priests worshipped upon the altar, chef Sergio Herman — who helmed the now shuttered, triple Michelin-starred restaurant Oud Sluis in the Netherlands — cooks in a glass-enclosed kitchen.
Other big winners at the RBDA include Australia’s Archie Rose Distilling Co. for Best International Bar, and the Tom Dixon-designed Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel in London, which won the title of Best Overall Bar with its green marble bar and flamingo pink, leather banquettes.
Less than a year after opening, head bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana also snagged the title of International Bartender of the Year for his botanics-inspired concoctions at the industry event Tales of the Cocktail.
At the seventh edition of the awards, a panel of judges made up of chefs, hoteliers, designers, editors and general tastemakers looked at more than 860 submissions from 70 countries.
Recognizable names include Marcus Wareing, Yannick Alleno and Martin Kemp, among dozens of others.
Food and beverage spaces eligible for consideration include ships, airports, museums, food trucks, pop-ups and traditional dining establishments.
Here are the international category winners:
Australia and Pacific restaurant: ACME, Sydney
Australia and Pacific bar: Archie Rose Distilling Co., Sydney
Middle East and Africa restaurant: Geales, UAE
Middle East and Africa bar: Tasting Room, Tel Aviv, Israel
Americas bar: Her Majesty’s Pleasure, Toronto, Canada
Americas restaurant: Hueso, Guadalajara, Mexico
Europe bar: Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
Europe restaurant: The Jane, Antwerp, Belgium
Asia restaurant: Raw, Taiwan
Asia bar: Toranomon Hop, Tokyo