Château Royal de Laeken
This 1899 former department store is an art nouveau showpiece with a superlative black facade all aswirl in wrought iron and arched windows. This contains the groundbreaking music museum , a celebration of music in all its forms, as well as a repository for more than 2000 historic instruments.
Thought-provoking and highly interactive, this museum has far more than the usual selection of stuffed animals. But the undoubted highlight is a unique ‘family’ of iguanodons – 10m-high dinosaurs found in a Hainaut coalmine back in 1878.
With an intimate informal atmosphere, tiled floors and homey decor, Soul Food is a distinctly different dinner stop on the edge of the Marolles, ideal if Belgian food is beginning to weigh you down. The fusion food is organic and additive-free, and steers clear of butter and cream in favour of interesting oils, grains and seeds. Advance booking required.
Nearby, this café is a classic townhouse refitted with art nouveau interiors in 1904. The front salon is truly marvellous, with original lamps, brass radiator-covers and stained glass. The brasserie area (behind) that’s publicly accessible is much less interesting but buying a drink earns you a walk-through glimpse of the highlights.