The little ‘t Kanon used to be an authentic Ghent cafe. Maybe it was too authentic. It was filled with a clutter of old radios, porcelain ornaments and prickly cacti in little pots. Nadia, the owner, talked to you in a Ghent accent that was impossible to understand.
Then it closed. The pandemic killed it off. Too bad, I thought. It had been around for 35 years. Nadia deserved a break.
And then a little miracle happened. The corner cafe named after the famously useless city cannon reopened in August 2021. The interior has been revamped by Antwerp design firm Altu aided by the two sisters who run Studio Stories. They restored the terrazzo floors and mahogany walls, and installed a horseshoe bar to create the mood of an iconic 50s cafe.
The little bar on the corner by the water is now run by three young women who have created an inventive menu with a nice Belgian twist. There’s homemade shrimp croquettes for starters, fish pie, and unusual wines from obscure vineyards. It’s fresh and fun.
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.