Sunday 28 June 2020 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 28/6/2020

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday


Move on up

Have you checked the temperature lately? I’m not talking about the thermometer that’s out on your balcony and I certainly wouldn’t be so bold as to ask personal health questions. I’m thinking more about the temperature of the world in general and how you’re adapting. Remember all those proclamations and predictions from a few months ago about a world forever changed and how you were going to have to adapt to all kinds of “normals” that weren’t going to be normal at all? Over these past few months Monocle has been gauging the pace of change in many corners of the world but also monitoring how much is as it was not just five months ago but also five years ago. While we don’t mind making the odd observation and even looking over the horizon, today I thought it would be useful to set out a charter about how things should be as society tries to navigate its way to the end of year and beyond. Below are a few thoughts:

1. Get out and dance

I’m all for a living room disco on a Sunday morning but it doesn’t quite compare to being among friends and strangers when the sounds are right and the lights dazzling. If you’ve been confined to a tiny dancefloor designed for two then you need to get out and go properly bananas. I did last weekend and many clouds lifted.

2. Pull out the diary

Planning is good. If you’ve been living day by day and putting things off, now is the time to start committing to figuring out vacations, dinner parties and many other things that you might have put on ice. If situations change then you can remember that God created erasers for a reason but also keep in mind that planning is an exercise in optimism.

3. Breathe deep and move on

This is a bit of a house mantra. Along with forgiveness, there’s a very real need to master the not-so-easy art of breathing deep and moving on. From time to time it might involve having to completely blow up but then that means you have to move on even faster.

4. Speak softly and remove your earphones

There’s a 97 per cent chance that all those conference calls and hours spent in front of a screen mean that you’ve lost your inner volume control. As you move back out into the civilised world and your workplace, turn it down a notch. If you’re still working from home then remember it is not polite to pace around on your balcony shouting into a mic – oblivious of your neighbours and your serene surroundings.

5. Dress smartly and wear shoes

Yes, even at home! The moment will soon come when you need to be out attending multiple meetings in exotic lands. Practice looking your best and remember that wearing proper footwear makes you a better, more confident presenter – even if you’re still parked on a sofa.

6. Air corridors aren’t just for holidays

Why are so many governments focused on where people can holiday when they should be thinking about where their citizens can do business? I’m slightly puzzled by the UK worrying about its holidaymakers and overseas beach time when the emphasis should be on opening up routes and killing quarantine for countries that are important to the functioning of the economy.

7. The world is not flat

It’s important to remember that nations are functioning at different speeds, with various policies and mixed outcomes – some much better than others. In many cases good management and messaging is allowing some countries to push ahead while others stall or sadly move in reverse. We need to monitor who’s doing a good job and ensure that there’s some proper benchmarking from which all can learn. Stay tuned for our September issue – dedicated to the theme “Get moving”.


From dawn ’til dusk

Bavarians craving a taste of the Bel Paese should head to Munich’s Bravo bar to enjoy what co-founder Marlon Schuler calls its “simple food and a lot of vino” (writes Nolan Giles). Opened late last year on busy Fraunhoferstrasse, the bar’s atmosphere is easy-going and the setting refined, with classic timber panelling on the walls and softly glowing spherical lamps hanging sparingly from the ceiling. Staff and clientele are equally cool. The concept, created by Schuler alongside business partner Damir Stabek, is essentially about always being on hand with what’s needed (and quickly), whether that’s an espresso first thing in the morning or one last Campari and soda at midnight. +49 89 8130 2715


Extracurricular activities

A professor at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Ecmel Ayral has spent the past 30 years looking at ways to bring together business and design to reshape the cities around us (writes Louis Harnett O’Meara). Most notably, Ayral masterminded Tomtom Gardens – a project that repurposed a central district of his home city into a thriving, self-sufficient space with bars, restaurants and offices. Here, Ayral describes why his dog is more dependable than an alarm clock and explains a few Greek fixations (from tunes to taramasalata) and the mystery of his tired treadmill.

Where do we find you this weekend?
At home in Istanbul.

How are you handling all this extra time at home?
What I do is not affected by staying at home and so I’ve been working very intensively. In fact, I had begun to work too much – a couple of weeks ago I decided I would have to stop working during weekends because the time was blending into one. Now I have more time to cook, which I enjoy.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Every day – Sunday included – I am woken up by my dog at 06.45. Then I spend some time with him for a little while before we sit down to watch some television together. It’s a pleasant start, I would say.

What’s your soundtrack of choice?
My favourite music to listen to in the morning is Eleni Karaindrou, a brilliant Greek composer. Or sometimes I start the day with a little jazz.

What’s for breakfast?
It’s a typical Turkish breakfast: lots of cheese, eggs, sausages and tea. We’ll read, eat and chat until the late afternoon.

What news do you wake up to?
I read the Financial Times and The Economist. And, of course, Monocle is part of my reading throughout the month.

Walk the dog or downward dog?
No yoga, no.

Any other exercise to get the blood pumping?
I exercise every other day – cardio, weightlifting and the like.
I used to go to the gym but that’s currently not possible. I have a treadmill that’s broken at the moment, probably from overuse. At least, that’s what I tell people.

Do you have lunch in or out?
We don’t have lunch on Sundays because breakfast is a heavy one. I’ll eat fruit between meals and a barbecue is a Sunday classic for later in the day.

Any larder essentials you can’t do without?
I have cycles where I begin to crave very particular foods. At the moment it’s taramasalata.

Do you have a cultural essential?
At the moment I’m reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff. I also listen to audiobooks as I walk – usually detective fiction. There’s a Turkish author who I like called Ahmet Ümit.

Do you have a glass of anything to recommend?
We’ve been exploring a lot of regional wines. A producer called Barbare has a vineyard near Istanbul on the Thrace peninsula. We’ve been filling up our cooler with white wines from there.

What’s for dinner?
Typically a barbecue. I tend to mostly cook meat, which we order in. I like grilled fish but I’m not quite talented enough to do it myself.

Restaurant you can’t wait to get back to?
My favourite place to eat in Istanbul is a fish restaurant by the Bosphorus called Iskele, which means “port” or “pier”. It reopened recently but I haven’t yet ventured out to it.

Who would join you?
I’m still close with my friends from high school, so I would have them join me. Never a table for more than six, though: it begins to feel too crowded.

Do you have a Sunday evening beauty or betterment routine?
We’re addicted to Netflix at the moment. I don’t know if that counts?

Would you usually lay out your look for Monday on a Sunday evening?
No. Mondays are not so different from any other days for me.


Cauliflower salad with Moroccan mint and roasted hazelnuts

Our Swiss chef whips up a tasty summer salad (or starter) with refreshing mint and hearty hazelnuts. It’s light, virtuous and takes just minutes to make. It’s also a base that rewards experimentation – try adding in pomegranate or dill, or switching the hazelnuts for pistachios, for instance.

Serves four as a starter or side

1 large cauliflower
4 tbsps lemon juice
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tsp honey
12.5g Moroccan mint, chopped
40g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grate the cauliflower with a mandolin or standard grater to make smallish pieces the size of couscous.
  2. Season with the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, a pinch of salt and a few turns of black pepper. Mix and arrange with mint and the roasted hazelnuts or optional extras (see above).
  3. Serve immediately or keep cool in the fridge for later. **


Despots and pans

Despite starting out as a pot washer at a Copenhagen restaurant, Witold Szablowski went on to become the youngest reporter on Duzy Format, a supplement of the influential Polish daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza (*writes Georgina Godwin(). He travelled widely and won plaudits for his writing, including the European Parliament Journalism prize in 2010. But the memories of his time in the kitchen never truly left him. “A kitchen is a really good place to be if you like to hear stories,” Szablowski tells Monocle 24’s Meet The Writers. “Chefs see a lot, they remember a lot and they love gossip.”

“I became fascinated with who cooked for dictators and what the tyrants ate,” says Szablowski, discussing his new book, How to Feed a Dictator, which is published by Penguin. Tracking down the chefs who he wished to interview was tricky. “Castro’s cook was easy to find, he runs a restaurant in Havana. But Saddam Hussein’s chef didn’t want to be found; it took years to convince him to talk. Pol Pot’s cook was an extreme case as she had been in love with him her whole life, despite two million Cambodians dying of starvation.” Szablowski cooked with the chefs, drank with them, shopped with them – and in return they told him their stories. “The dictators had one thing in common: they missed mummy’s kitchen,” he says. “They wanted the food that reminded them of their childhood before they had this dangerous job.”


Night +

The first time that I visited Los Angeles, my list of restaurants to try was almost as long as the list of places I wanted to go to in California (writes Carlota Rebelo). This is, after all, a city that’s spoilt for choice when it comes to good food. Whether it’s an established classic, humble eatery, social media-ready diner or trusty food truck, there is something out there for everyone.

Yet while I lived in the city I would find myself walking through the doors of the Thai restaurant Night + Market in West Hollywood time and time again. It’s the sort of place where the food is king and the informal ambience suits any situation, be it entertaining some visitors, a Friday night with friends or a special dinner with someone.

The venue’s neon sign on Sunset Boulevard signals your arrival. And even if you already have a reservation you want to be told to wait by the bar, drinking together with other diners who are eager to get a seat. The intense scent of Thai spices fills the room – and who knew that neon orange and light blue could become such warm colours?

Everything here is meant to be shared: the food, the tables and the drinks. And that’s perhaps why I’ve been craving it so much. As lockdown measures confine us to our homes, I’m longing for the day that I can gather my friends, over-order and pass each dish down the table as we share stories from our week. Night + Market in West Hollywood was the last restaurant I visited before returning to London. As soon as I’m able to hop on a flight to LAX again, I want to embrace the Californian sunshine and palm trees – and then happily wait in line for a table at Night + Market.

Carlota’s order:

Pork toro
Pad thai
Crispy rice salad
Roast duck green curry


Bloom shakalaka

Flick through a glossy magazine and you might not spot many flowers (writes Josh Fehnert). There’s a trend towards architectural shapes, pudgy succulents and prim bay trees but what about a few flowers for a hit of colour, for goodness sake? Now’s the time to be bold. “I like colour so I might have whites and blues in the garden and a sort of pop: bright pink or cerise thrown in or bright yellow and orange to pop up in the sea of blues and mauves,” says Peter Milne of The Nunhead Gardener in southeast London.

“I saw this garden designer – and this stuck with me – who would choose colours that are at the opposite end of the colour wheel so they offset each other, such as blue and yellow for example.” Any other tips while we’re adding some colour to the borders? “Plan your whole season out so that you’ve always got new colour coming: beautiful bulbs for the springtime then early-summer perennials. Once they’re done, cut them back.” So what’s flowering now? Echinacea, a herbaceous daisy, which – before you ask – comes in many seemly hues. Have a great weekend.


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