For Singaporeans, dining is a religion, so it made sense for owner Bjorn Shen to pick the courtyard of a historic chapel as the setting for Artichoke.
A veritable shrine to Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant's menu is laced with Moroccan, Spanish, Turkish, Lebanese and Greek influences, that include lamb merguez sausages with fried eggs for breakfast and barbequed calamari with Chermoula spices for dinner.
Built in 1870, the main building, now called Objectifs, first served as the Middle Road Church before becoming the Baba Malay Methodist Church. It later became the grounds of the Methodist Girls' School, with nine Indian girls for its first students. Over the years, the premises took on other roles, as the May Blossom Restaurant during the Japanese Occupation and as a car workshop for a brief period in the 1980s.
The building then fell into disuse, but in 1995, architect-turned-sculptor Sun Yu-Li saw the artistic potential of the forgotten and deteriorating structure. He later led the four-year restoration of one of Singapore's few remaining Gothic-style buildings, transforming it into a 2,034 sq ft gallery dedicated to three-dimensional art. Great care was taken to preserve the building's entire external façade, which includes distinctive circular vents and arched windows.