Sunday 5 September 2021 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 5/9/2021

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday


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It’s the morning after the night before and what a night it was. The good news is that there is no headache or brain haze. Summer has made a return and the lake is twinkling, calling for a day on the lawn, on the raft and around a table for a leisurely lunch. As for the evening, it was a housewarming fest (mine), one year after the official move and all invited were ready for an easy evening of good Südtirol wine, the odd gin and tonic, and a full Japanese spread from local duo Yuriko and Keisuke. I seem to have lost track of the official gathering guidelines (I believe the Swiss federal government has as well) but we were somewhere between 20 and 100 and thankfully the teenagers who commandeered the workshop across the street for a mini techno gathering were of more concern to sensitive ears than our chatter and Frenchy beats.

And you? How’s your weekend been? Fully back into the swing of things? Still enjoying another week off? Or manning the potato-salad preparation and grill for Labo(u)r Day celebrations in Vancouver or Asheville? I’m curious – have you spent much time with a real newspaper in the past 24 hours? A bit of WSJ after your Saturday trot? A little check-in with Blick post your trip down to the market? If you follow the media landscape, you’ll note that it’s been a busy few weeks for news brands big and small. Switzerland’s Ringier has snapped up a clutch of Springer’s media interests in eastern Europe and Springer has used some of those funds to buy Politico. While the focus of these deals is broadly digital in nature, closer examination reveals that paper plays a significant role in profits and power. The Ringier deal solidifies the company’s position as one of the most influential media groups operating in eastern Europe, while Politico’s print edition is an essential part of its brand within Washington’s beltway.

This week Monocle cranked up the newspaper presses in Konstanz and, on Wednesday, bundles of our special-edition Salone newspaper landed at our HQ in Zürich while the rest of the print run started its journey to Lombardy and other outlets across the world. If you’ve never worked at a newspaper then you may not be familiar with the feeling of getting a first edition dropped on your desk and cracking it open. Sure, you’ve seen editors and press barons opening up their broadsheets in films but to do it when it’s your own story that’s on page, or your very own tabloid for that matter, is something entirely different.

I love getting this newsletter to check before it’s sent out at 07.00 but, to be frank, it’s a rather dull experience compared to the sensation I felt on Friday when I returned from Como, made my way to the office and went on to ignore my COO as I went through the ritual of leafing through our newspaper while she talked about a retail project. Or was it a new accounting tool? Or perhaps the upcoming company retreat? No matter. The point here is that there’s so much a newspaper delivers when it’s on fine paper, printed well and edited with care. Fortunately, there are still many proprietors who understand this. But sadly there are many more who feel that they should go through the motions of still printing a daily or weekend edition while not putting their all into making it something a reader might want to be associated with. For our subscribers, this special edition should be dropping into the postal system as I type and will be with you shortly. If you’re not a subscriber, then you should definitely sign up or you can buy our title as a single edition. Monocle is planning much more in the newspaper space and we hope you enjoy this next dispatch.


Proving ground

The number of bakeries in Copenhagen is rising and it’s a challenge to buy a bad loaf. Residents are sticklers for pastries too and a boom in talented chefs has fuelled openings. In recent months there has been a wave of spots popping up in and around Nørrebro. Collective Bakery is a spin-off from local roaster Coffee Collective, which opened its timber-clad space in spring 2021. Here, head baker Michael Craig (formerly of Hart Bageri) whips up croissants, rye and sourdough loaves, as well as citronbølge (pictured), a zesty, buttery wave-shaped pastry made from the trimmings of croissants and drizzled in lemon syrup.

At Rondo, a sunny neighbourhood joint, residents sit under a red awning, savouring hunks of naturally leavened bread topped with tomatoes, olive oil and anchovies. It’s run by the team behind the beloved Gaarden & Gaden natural-wine bar. Bageriet Benji also opened this year. This hole-in-the-wall spot from Noma alumnus Rasmus Kristensen serves treats from tarts with frangipane and rhubarb to ice-cream sandwiches and croissant-like spandauers filled with silky cream.;; Faelledvej 23


Caught up

In Galicia, the northwesterly region of Spain, a regular visitor to the small fishing village of Corrubedo has sown the seeds of a quiet revolution. Not only has British architect David Chipperfield reopened and reimagined a neighbourhood restaurant that had been closed for more than 20 years, he has also launched a foundation that supports sustainable development in the area. Both projects represent a tie to the community that has become more than just a place where Chipperfield and his family spend their summers.

Bar do Porto sits off the water’s edge, where the Arousa estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean. The bar’s first incarnation closed its doors in the same summer that Chipperfield, who is a keen cook, first set foot in Corrubedo. “I like the purity of the place,” he says. “This is my attempt to give something to the village. Galicia has a great tradition of working with nature. The people know how to fish but not exploit the fish.”

The bar quietly reopened in 2020, picking up where it had left off all those summers before as a place where villagers connect over a quick drink or a hearty meal. “Our prices are the same as all the others, though the quality of our products is superior,” says Celeste Chipperfield, David’s daughter and director of Bar do Porto. She can be found zipping around the nearby market town of Ribeira, chatting to suppliers. The bar’s bread and empanadas come from family-run bakery Sieira Charlin, where everything is cooked in a wood-fired oven from 1806.

At Pescados Marisa, Damian Sampedro and his mother prepare fish fresh from the boats in Ribeira’s port, while goods such as razor clams come from Pescados y Mariscos Bomar, a specialist seafood shop. “Our story is quite romantic because this wasn’t meant to be a business,” says David Chipperfield, before outlining the need for us all to take a participatory role in solving issues such as environmental degradation and helping to safeguard communities. “You’ve got to treasure what’s here and protect it. We must all understand that where we live and the quality of where we live is what’s important.”
4 Rúa Torreiro


Room service

Brad Wilson is the president of Ace Hotels Group but when it comes to Sunday suppers, he’s partial to staying in (writes Carolina Abbott Galvão). “My ideal spot is home,” says Wilson. “And cooking is my favourite pastime.” Having joined the company in 2011 after successful runs at W Hotels and Nikko Hotels, Wilson has now overseen Ace’s expansion into fresh regions from New Orleans to Kyoto and a soon-to-open spot in Sydney. He tells us about his favourite pancake recipe, golden margaritas and his appetite for smoked oysters.

Where do we find you this weekend?
Until pretty recently you’d find me in Springs on Long Island in New York, probably cooking for friends. But I sold my house there just as The New York Times declared it to be the latest Hamptons-adjacent hipster destination. Now I’m trying to find a new weekend hangout.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Coffee. I’m that guy. I weigh the beans, grind them, filter the water and heat it to just the right temperature to make the perfect pour-over. I love the beans we are using for our new Brooklyn hotel, roasted by Sey Coffee out of Bushwick.

What’s for breakfast?
I make a crazy-good pancake but, as I tell my friends, it’s a bit overstated: polenta-soufflé-blueberry-pecan with lemon-mace sugar and real maple syrup. It’s a lot but they’re truly something: creamy and light; crunchy but moist. Just perfect.

News or not?
News, for sure. The New York Times app, for starters. I usually end up in the Spelling Bee section, helping my husband with words. Plus The Economist for a global perspective.

Some exercise to get the blood pumping?
When I’m at my best I get a good routine going during the week but I always take the weekend off, bar the occasional hike or swim. I’d love to find a good place for kayaking.

Lunch in or out?
If the weather’s nice, preferably out. My favourite weekend spot is the Clam Bar, halfway to Montauk from Manhattan. I love taking in the ocean breeze outside, next to the little shack. The lobster roll is great.

Larder essentials you can’t do without?
Smoked oysters, they’re my favourite snack. Olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes can turn just about anything into a meal.

Sunday culture must?
I’m currently thumbing through John Waters’ Role Models, which I’m really enjoying. It’s alarmingly relatable. If television counts, then I’m also a sucker for CBS Sunday Morning. I know it’s the old-man show but the features in between the Viagra ads are always interesting.

A glass of something you’d recommend?
I trust any Italian red wine that starts with a “b” and our house cocktail is a golden margarita: lime, reposado tequila and Grand Marnier.

Ideal dinner venue?
On many Sundays I’m at a tiny bistro in Manhattan called Le Parisien. It’s close to both Ace New York and my home. It’s a bit of a neighbourhood secret, both very French and very New York at the same time. That said, I love a Sunday dinner at home with friends. I usually try to make something from the latest issue of Bon Appétit and make it look just like the picture.

The ideal dinner menu?
It really depends on the season: a clam bake in the summer; a rack of lamb in the winter.

Will you lay out your look for Monday?
Never until the morning. After coffee.


Salmon poke bowl with citrus

This week’s healthy riff on the Hawaiian favourite rewards experimentation. Consider this a base onto which to pile flavours, spices and adornments galore but remember the ponzu for that citrusy yuzu kick. You could switch the salmon for tuna (as long as it’s sushi-grade and fresh). The sauce can be prepared in advance but make sure you grate the ginger fresh.

Serves 4

175g sushi rice
250ml water

170g salmon (sushi-grade)
50g cucumber
1 tomato
40g spring onions

¼ tsp fresh ginger grated
25ml ponzu (or soy sauce)
5g sugar
20ml rice vinegar
7.5ml mirin
7.5ml sesame oil

Toppings (optional):
Diced avocado
Nori strips
Handful of fresh coriander
A shake of black sesame seeds

1. Sprinkle salmon fillet evenly with salt and leave to cure for 2 hours in the refrigerator to allow the fish to firm up.

  1. Meanwhile, prepare the rice in a rice cooker or to packet instructions (remember to rinse the rice with water before cooking until it runs clear). Bring to the boil with 250ml water and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the cooker and let it rest in the pot for another 10 minutes. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

  2. When the fish is ready, take it out of the fridge and rinse off the salt, dab dry and cut into 2cm square cubes. For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.

  3. Finely chop the cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions and combine with salmon and sauce to marinate. Keep cool in the fridge if you’re not serving immediately.

  4. When it comes to serving, add 5 tablespoons of rice to every 3 tablespoons of the salmon mixture, and mix. Top with the optional extras and enjoy.


New heights

Breeze Airways is catching a tailwind and has eyes on global expansion (writes Gabriel Leigh). Veteran airline boss David Neeleman’s new project promises to be yet another of his disruptive start-ups. Breeze started flying between secondary cities in the southeastern US earlier this year. It promised simple, friendly service and a reliable operation, with routes for communities that have been roundly ignored by the big hub-to-hub operations at the major airlines. And the best is yet to come: in a few years the carrier will get long-range Airbus A220s and is looking to send them abroad, focusing on underserved cities in both western Europe and South America. Watch this space.


Safe haven

On a map, Ikuchijima is a tiny speck, one of hundreds of small islands that make up the Setonaikai (or Inland Sea). This dreamy stretch of water is Japan’s answer to the Mediterranean, hemmed in by three of the country’s four main islands. In his classic 1971 travelogue The Inland Sea, Donald Richie described it as being as “flat as a meadow” and Ikuchijima as “a smaller Sardinia, a greener Corsica”. Travelling from Tokyo to Ikuchijima today is a swift transition: an hour’s flight to Hiroshima, a short hop to the sleepy port of Mihara and, finally, a small ferry that deposits passengers at the town of Setoda.

The luckiest will be heading a few steps up the road to the island’s newest hotel, Azumi Setoda. Kyoto-based architect Shiro Miura transformed the old residence into a serene 22-room space with minimalist furniture, including comfortable wood-framed beds. The bathrooms are vast and guests can enjoy a soak in a fragrant hinoki cypress bathtub.

Dinners are a treat. Famous for citrus fruit and seafood, this area was also a staging post on the Silk Road and the food is designed to reflect the mix of cultures: tofu with coriander, Innoshima octopus with sesame oil and grilled loin of pork with a Thai-style herb salad. Wine is selected by John Ishikawa, whose recommendations are well worth taking. It’s easy to feel at home, even after only a night. You will find yourself wanting to stay much longer.

For more of what you’ve missed from the world of travel, take a look at our September issue, which is out now.


Our latest venture

Have you ever wondered what life might be like if you jacked in the day job and started something on your own terms? You’re not alone. It’s exactly this entrepreneurial itch that led our team to create our newest handbook on the world of business. The Monocle Book of Entrepreneurs is published in September and distributed by Thames & Hudson. It charts the journey of 100 ventures with credibility, charm and something to teach the world. So whether you’re starting something modest or massive – to make things better, help revive a town or just nail a niche – you have a few simple decisions to make. How should you balance your work and life? Profits and purpose? We can help. As a sneak peek between the covers, we’re profiling a series of lessons from the book to get your business going.

Five golden rules of customer service
by Sophie Grove
No matter what you do, most jobs are in some sense customer-facing. Getting it right is partly about brand-building but it’s also about telling your story and making the right impression.

Curb your enthusiasm. Customer service is about putting people at ease, not bowling them over with your bounteous knowledge. If in doubt, err on the side of formal. Start off with eye contact and a handshake before you go in for bear hugs and high fives (if ever).

The customer is sometimes wrong. Don’t be afraid to stand up to unreasonable demands and rudeness. Be firm and fair when confronted with red-faced rabble-rousers who are getting angry over something beyond your control.

Hire judiciously. Seek out people who buy into your brand and go beyond what’s expected of them. If you wouldn’t fancy going for lunch with them there’s a good chance your customers won’t take to them either.

Reward loyalty. If you’ve got them, keep them. There’s no substitute for a band of truly happy, committed staff. Conversely, vexed employees will make customers feel uneasy and are less likely to go that extra mile.

Don’t be afraid to sell. While people need space to reflect and ponder, aloof nonchalance can come across as rude. Encourage staff to open up and engage, and don’t be afraid to remind them that they’re there to make money and meet margins. It’s worth remembering that some customers want to be convinced. Speaking of which, have you considered a subscription to Monocle? Have a super Sunday.

For more tips, ideas and inspiration, pre-order your copy of ‘The Monocle Book of Entrepreneurs’ here.


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