A stunning restaurant called Het Smaaksalon opened in 2012 in a grand town house in Hasselt. The building, known as Huis de Corswarem, was built at the end of the 19th century by a wealthy Hasselt family. It is a spectacular Neoclassical mansion decorated with pillars, chandeliers and oil portraits.
The family who owned it eventually ran out of money and had to rent it out. It served as a German officers’ mess in World War One, then a music school, and finally the city bought it. After lying empty for years, the mansion was renovated in 2012 as a landmark restaurant.
The aim is to create food that reflects Hasselt’s bold marketing claim to be “the capital of taste”. The menu features modern versions of traditional Hasselt specialities like Stoofvlees met jenever en speculaas (stew simmered in jenever and speculaas biscuit), Limburgse vlaai (Limburg tart) and local apple juice.
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.