Sunday 25 July 2021 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 25/7/2021

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday


Way to go

Today we’re going to define the very best of summer by highlighting ten brands that will smooth your journey from departure gate to touchdown. They’ll settle your nerves across impossibly windy stretches of water, make your flat, wide feet look elegant and dainty, and spark a few ideas for an easier life in the eastern Med. We start at Zürich airport, gate 63, Friday afternoon, 14.45.

Edelweiss may not be a global, household brand name unless, of course, you make the jump to Christopher Plummer, a guitar and a song from The Sound of Music, in which case it becomes something of a lyrical sub-brand. In Switzerland and in some aviation circles, however, Edelweiss is recognised as a slightly different take on an airline: not quite fully scheduled, not quite a leisure carrier and not a service that could be replicated in many markets. Monocle’s been a fan of its sunny destinations and perky service for a few years now and on this packed flight to Mykonos the crew are all smiles and endless champagne refills. Some 87 per cent of the passengers are chic and well turned-out (the other 13 per cent could be contestants on a Swiss version of Love Island) and we’re running ahead of schedule. We negotiate a crazy, windy landing with ease, are almost blown off our feet by the steady, gusting wind and I’m left wondering: how will we get to Paros?

Milat is our helicopter pilot and is standing ready to greet us at the heliport. The first thing he does is assure us that on a day like today, a chopper’s the easiest bet across the sea to Paros. So much so that the usual 19-minute journey will take just eight given the winds. The Bell 407 looks like it’s up to the task and when Milat says he’s from Stockholm we suddenly feel even better. As promised, we touch down eight minutes later behind a service station complete with chained-up guard dogs that would surely be airborne if they weren’t tethered to the wall.

Syros is the island I spied on the approach to Mykonos. I’m not a Cyclades expert but there was something about the scale of the place that looked intriguing. Give us a few weeks and we’ll come back to you on what we found.

Rafnar and Pardo have loyal followings in nautical circles. On my morning walk I pass a very capable looking Rafnar in grey with three 350-horsepower engines on the back. It looks perfect for speedy crossings around this stretch of Greece and even better for tanning and dips in azure inlets. In front of the villa a gleaming, white Pardo puts in an appearance and looks like just the type of boat that one might want to share the cost of with two friends, keep anchored in Piraeus and use for sporty day trips (or even overnighters) from April until the end of October.

Hello Mango is a tiny little café and juice joint not far from where I’m staying. The branding, coffee and juice combos are perfect and the setting is serene and calm. It feels like it could be Australian but is somehow uniquely Greek. Lately I’ve been asking myself if much of the Aussie lifestyle is thanks to the country’s Greek diaspora or if the Greek Australians have been re-exporting their re-inventions. All thoughts on this are welcome at or it could be a discussion topic at our conference in Athens in September.

Verbenas is the name of my new favourite summer slip-on. They’re less flashy than Rivieras and much less expensive. They go well with a tan and make my feet look a little less barge-like.

Prime Radio 100.3 (stunning sounds for summer) is blasting in the little white Skoda we’ve rented for scooting around the island. As I swerve around potholes and swaying oleander I’m reminded of Fiat’s Panda and wondering whether the company might think about a boxy, angular comeback of that most essential island and alpine car. Mr Elkann, if you’re reading this, how about a Panda renaissance, complete with checkerboard upholstery and a special edition camel colourway?


Cosmic cuisine

Headed by veteran chef Heman Tan, Moonbow is a new opening nestled in Singapore’s leafy Dempsey Hill neighbourhood (writes Noor Amylia Hilda). It’s a formal but unfussy affair, mirroring Tan’s attitude to food. “I would always tell my team that we have to hold on to the basic techniques,” he says. “Only then can we start to explore and bend the rules.” The menu here is European for the most part (the steak and fish from the grill are divine) but infused with strong Asian influences in dishes such as silkie chicken, which is chargrilled and served with bearnaise sauce and tangy goji berries.

It’s currently open for pick-up only but when the restaurant is fully open, the patio is a laid-back setting for brunch (you can get a mean shakshuka or eggs benedict) and it’s the attention to detail that heightens the experience. Every piece of dainty tableware is designed by Tan, who is a passionate ceramicist when he’s not behind the counter.


Making sense

Eva Langret is the creative force behind one of the biggest and most influential art fairs in the world: Frieze. As artistic director she liaises with galleries, collectors and curators to oversee the programme and development of the annual event. This summer she’s been working on this year’s London edition, which is scheduled for October, while undertaking a new challenge: the launch of Frieze’s new exhibition space in the capital, No 9 Cork Street. Langret grew up in Paris and moved to London in 2005 but these days she rarely ventures north of the river. Here, she tells us about her favourite galleries, her son’s taste in music and her penchant for gelato.

Where do we find you this weekend?

In Paris. It has been so long since I’ve seen my family, so it’s good to be back. If I were at home I’d be at my local market, shopping for groceries and trying to find something exciting to make for dinner. Alternatively, I could also be at the park or at one of the two great ice-cream parlours near me, looking for cherry gelato.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?

Not active. My weekdays are hectic, so I like my weekends to be gentle. I’ll usually stay at home and listen to music. Maybe I’ll walk to the bakery to pick up some sweets and cakes.

Soundtrack of choice?

My four-year-old son likes to start the day by playing Patti Smith, so we often do that on a Sunday morning. I also like listening to the radio and finding new music. I’m a big fan of a Peckham-based radio station called Balamii, so I listen to it a lot. And then also French radio – either Nova or France Inter.

News or not?

I’ll catch up on Frieze and read the Financial Times, The New York Times and British Vogue.

Some exercise to get the blood pumping?

I exercise but only during the week. I’ve been doing an outdoor circuit class every other day in the morning, so on Sundays I like to relax.

Lunch in or out?

Lunch out at Brixton’s finest: I really like Kricket for Indian food and Chishuru for West African food. Okan is a great Japanese restaurant.

Larder essentials you can’t do without?

Rosemary from my park’s greenhouse and spices from Épices Roellinger.

Sunday culture must?

It would most likely be a trip to one of the nearby galleries. So either the South London Gallery or possibly Gasworks. Sometimes I’ll cross the river and go to the Serpentine.

A glass of something you’d recommend?

Rosemary cordial; it’s so refreshing.

Ideal dinner venue?


What’s on the menu?

A classic Sunday roast. Usually it’s roast chicken, green beans, a salad, potatoes and a homemade tarte tatin for dessert.

Sunday evening beauty or betterment routine?

It’s an evening hair routine, really. I have curly hair and it requires a lot of care, so I’ll likely be twisting it while catching up on TV shows.

What will you be wearing on Monday?

Something comfortable that allows me to walk.


Turkish manti

This week our Swiss chef turns his hand to a Turkish speciality. These filled parcels resemble pasta but the addition of sauces (one yoghurt-based; the other with brown butter and tomato) add fresh notes, a hint of acidity and plenty of depth of flavour.

Serves 4


For the dough:

250g plain white flour
5 tbsps water
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 egg

For the filling:

½ bunch parsley
200g minced beef or lamb
1 small onion
½ teaspoon aleppo pepper
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper

For the topping:

50g butter
500g Turkish yoghurt (10 per cent fat)
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp paprika powder
2 cloves garlic, diced


  1. Mix the dough ingredients and knead. When combined, wrap in clingfilm and let it rest for half an hour.

  2. For the filling, dice the onion and parsley very finely and mix with the minced meat. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and aleppo pepper.

  3. Roll out dough thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out squares about 2.5cm in diameter. Place a small amount of filling in the centre of each, fold the four corners towards the centre and press together in a star shape with your fingers until you’ve assembled all the parcels.

  4. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the manti in it for about 4 minutes then drain.

  5. To make the first sauce, mix the yoghurt with crushed garlic and salt.

  6. To make the second sauce, melt the butter and brown it slightly in a medium pan until it bubbles up and smells nutty, and brown bits appear. Then mix it with the tomato paste and paprika powder.

  7. Arrange the finished manti on four plates, then spread the yoghurt on top before adding the buttery tomato sauce on top and serving. Enjoy.


Mightier than the sword

It’s easy to think that art automatically rises to respond to difficult times as no shortage of paintings and poems have been created in wartime (writes Alex Briand). But in the weeks surrounding the Blitz of London, with the streets of the UK capital reduced to gloom and rubble, many felt that there was little more to be said about conflict. “Only the mentally dead are capable of writing novels while this nightmare is going on,” wrote George Orwell during the early stages of the German bombing in 1941. But even Orwell was moved back to his typewriter by literary publication Horizon, which was founded in Bloomsbury during the blackouts of the Second World War. Horizon published short-form writing, from the poetic to the polemical, that sought to reinvigorate the nation’s spirit amid the grey churn of paranoia and propaganda.

Out this week and published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Writing in the Dark by Will Loxley charts Horizon’s story in absorbing, novel-like form, across a tight and well-researched 352 pages. The publication’s founders and contributors, including Orwell, Virginia Woolf and WH Auden, are among the key characters, and events are peppered with quotations from their essays and diaries from the time. “Every day, an occasion arises in which one sees things in an entirely new and different way,” writes Woolf.

The book charts the personal lives and political revelations of a literary scene that was forced to re-evaluate what good writing is for. It chronicles the capacity for art to bend with the winds of change and celebrates the importance of the printed word. As the poet John Lehmann wrote of the feeling at the time: “The belief in literature as a part of life, in the power of the creative imagination to give meaning to life; these would surely be as important as ever in the times we were about to enter.” Though a different shape and scale of challenge, the events of the past 18 months have seen many creative people feel stifled and lacking in imagination. What we learn from Writing in the Dark is that the right words can – and should – always be sought.


Time to act

Anyone in doubt of William Shakespeare’s relevance to the world today might have relished a trip with me to the Globe theatre on London’s South Bank last Sunday (writes Josh Fehnert). As London’s pale skin pinked in the summer sizzle, long orderly lines formed outside the open-air Elizabethan venue for a performance of The Tempest.

At this point, dear reader, I’m really resisting the urge to compare the plot of the 1611 play to the state of the UK today (though a windswept island buffeted by tragedy, bad weather and ruled by loons and monsters does have a hint of familiarity to it). But the performance, sadly, never came to pass.

Moments before we were ushered into the hallowed round, a theatrical soul (picture a hammy, pantomime town-crier) bellowed to inform the ticketed throngs that an actor had been “pinged” and needed to self-isolate because of exposure to someone with coronavirus. The play never started but the histrionics certainly did.

As I look around, a school trip is in disarray (sandwiches anyone? Back to the coach?), a disgruntled couple who’d come all the way from Scotland are seething, and a few first-daters are flapping about their afternoon plans. I heard one woman harrumphing to the town crier in a cut-glass accent that she’d donated towards keeping The Globe open during its “darkest days” and deserved to be informed of the cancellation sooner.

What the lady might not have fully grasped amid this comedy of app-related errors is that, in the broad sweep of history, this theatre has survived dicier times than this sunny Sunday, in what is (hopefully) the tail-end of a pandemic.

In fact, in the first 10 years after the Globe opened in 1599, the venue closed multiple times due to flare-ups of the bubonic plague (nasty stuff that). That epidemic waxed and waned for decades: it’s even said to have killed Shakespeare’s young son Hamnet along with as much as a fifth of London’s population. It also created time for the playwright to lock himself away and write. King Lear came from one such closure.

So what lessons might my brush with the bard teach us today? Well, there’s the fact that some stories echo through the ages while others – equally compelling or complicated – fade from memory. The pandemic, too, will pass. More broadly though, the rolling closures of venues might have inconvenienced students, Scots and well-spoken theatre-goers but they have also spelled a real-life tragedy for actors and theatre companies across the world. It’s up to all of us how the next scene plays out too. Luckily it seems that people want to see plays again – and be moved by the performing arts. This at least shows that hope is waiting in the wings.


At your service

Most service stations are a means to an end: a quick stop-off to refuel and stretch your legs. But can they be more? In our Quality of Life issue we profile a clutch of convenience stops that are streets ahead of the competition. Surely this is the way we should all be moving?

On a sunny weekday morning, the early bird shoppers at Mashiko Station are filling their baskets with produce from nearby farms – fresh eggs, pencil-thin asparagus, deep red tomatoes, late-season strawberries, giant radishes and shiitake mushrooms. The cut flowers are selling out quickly, at half the price they would be in Tokyo. The shelves are stacked with ham, bread, pressed juices and bags of rice. With its striking wooden architecture and scenic views of the rice fields beyond, Mashiko Station looks more like a dream supermarket than a roadside pit stop. This is a road station – or michi-no-eki – with a difference.

Financed and built by the town of Mashiko, a rural outpost best known for its pottery (with some help from local banks), it opened in 2016 to give the area’s farmers and producers somewhere to sell their goods. Everything from the piles of cabbages to the bottles of wine comes from the area around Mashiko. “Our number one aim is to support the local economy,” says deputy manager Shoko Yamazaki. “Farmers bring their produce in the morning, lay it out and it goes straight to the customer.”

The Mashiko Company now employs 60 people and has recently opened a hotel in a renovated building in town. “We’re making a difference,” says Yamazaki. Connections are being made and farmers are proud to meet their customers, who in turn are learning more about the people who make their food. “For us, this is a shared project between the town hall, the staff who work here, the farmers and the customers – it’s all about Mashiko.” This is a long way from sad sandwiches and garage forecourts – something to think about wherever this newsletter finds you. Have a super Sunday.

For more on the fast-moving world of service stations and our bumper Quality of Life special, pick up a copy of the latest issue of the magazine or become a subscriber so you never miss a story.


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