It’s just about 9 AM when I stroll into Noen coffee house. Suitcase in tow, I’m off to Brussels airport… But not before I’ve sampled some of the best of café culture that the tiny city of Mechelen has to offer. Off the beaten path and away from the crowds of Ghent, Brussels, or Bruges, Mechelen is best-known for its 13th-century Saint Rumbold’s Cathedral and bar-studded Vismarkt (fish market).
Address | Leermarkt 24, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium
Noen: Where to find the Best Cafe in Mechelen
Wander into Noen at any given moment and you can expect to be greeted by friendly staff, a countertop stacked with mouthwateringly delicious homemade cakes, and some pretty chic decor. All minimal design with plant highlights, there are a few well-chosen posters on the walls, the decor is the brainchild of Tim Nuyts.
Meanwhile, the tableware is an earthenware mix that’s carefully been selected to complement the rest of the vibe of the café. The crockery is actually created by artist Marie Laure, and if you fancy bringing home an extra special souvenir from your time in Belgium, you can even purchase some of the plates and bowls in the café!
How to visit Noen in Mechelen
Open from Monday through to Saturday, the café and brunch spot is open from 9 AM to 4 PM on a daily basis, with the exception of Saturday when it’s open until 6 PM. Due to the eaterie’s popularity, space can fill up fast, especially at weekends, during special events, and during peak season (i.e. the summer) and as reservations aren’t available, you’ll want to go sooner in the day rather than later, so as to avoid disappointment.
I personally ordered a cake and a latté, and was pleasantly surprised to find that my coffee arrived with a small sweet bite on the side. Though, perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised! This way of serving caffeine is pretty common throughout Europe.
Other menu items include sandwiches, pancakes, and several more healthy options. At breakfast, you can even order staples such as eggs and guacamole. Finally, though I didn’t have the chance to try any during my visit to Noen, I hear that the Monkey + Me Eiskreem is particularly great.
Nearby attractions in Mechelen include the Kruidtuin botanical gardens (which are free to visit), and strolling alongside the picture perfect boardwalk, Dijlepad. When it comes to other towns nearby of note, aside from Brussels, the stunning city of Leuven is a hidden gem that’s well worth exploring.