Sunday 2 January 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 2/1/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Ready, set, go!

We’re full of ideas to start 2022 afresh, including a sky-high restaurant in New York to visit and a few good reasons why you should relocate to Malta. Plus: the activewear you need to start your regime right this year. Setting the pace is Tyler Brûlé.


In with the new

Happy New Year, bonne année, buon anno, godt nytår, frohes neues Jahr and feliz ano novo! This branch of the Monocle family welcomed 2022 in a low-key, well-lit and tastily catered format high above the rest of Europe in cosy St Moritz. On hand were friends from London and Essen, Zürich and Lugano, and while there was much reflection on the past year (topics generally focused on incomprehensible government coronavirus measures, poorly behaved children and the state of the very challenged workplace) there was also a healthy dose of looking forward and pressing on with getting out in the world, despite yet another swell of major event cancellations including the furniture and design fairs in Paris, Cologne and Stockholm. The last guests pulled on their coats shortly after 02.30 and despite the odd rocket going off around the lake, I reckon I passed out at around 02.39 and woke up to the most gloriously sunny day. While other members of the household dealt with the Christmas tree, packed away baubles and prepped for a return to the lowlands, I managed to steal a couple of hours to contemplate 2022 and jot down a few wishes for the months ahead.

1. Fast start
Week one of the new year is always a bit clunky as many take an extra week off, some schools don’t go back until closer to mid-month and much of the southern hemisphere is in the midst of summer holiday. I was going to ease into things gently but decided to hit the ground running and will be reporting to work first thing on Monday morning. There’s so much I want to get moving on that I feel I’ll be more efficient in the office and in the thick of it rather than working remotely. By the time you read this, 2022 marching orders will have been sent to key staff, the diary will be filled through to the end of Q1 and I will already be winding down through the mountains in a finely appointed dining car.

2. Things you can’t do at home
Many are likely to be reading this in a country that has some kind of work-from-home recommendation and/or ban on going into the office. What a load of nonsense. A key wish is that governments allow companies to make their own rules, decide what makes sense for their particular business and act accordingly. The same goes for the rapidly spreading concept of quarantines. Does this really make sense at this point? Let’s get back to centre to allow for more self-responsibility and less nannying. Also, as it was established on New Year’s Eve, there are so many things you can’t do while working from home. One favourite pursuit in the Zürich office on quiet Tuesdays is playing “catch the grape” (any bite-sized fruit will do). I think you get how this game works. Fun for a few minutes, a bit of light relief for those who have their heads down and one of many things that helps bring a team together rather than being isolated with kids, cats and partners who have too many opinions about what they overheard on a call.

3. A bigger media diet
A few months ago I recommended that one of the best things you can do for your mental health, particularly in the English-speaking world, is to start reading daily newspapers (and their accompanying opinions) from other markets – Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium. Getting fresh opinions and points of view from other corners of the planet can be invaluable for giving you a better start to the day, not to mention introducing all kinds of smart opportunities. And yes, Google Translate works wonders – even when it comes to longer, more complicated reads. You’ll be happy to know that not all countries or media outlets are taking wacky, leftish cancel/don’t-say-that/debate-stifling as a matter of course. I’m hoping that more people can add an extra daily or two to their morning media breakfast buffet.

4. Shhhhhhhhh!
On many rail routes in Switzerland there are silent coaches, where the code of no chatter/don’t you dare make a peep is strictly enforced – more so than mask-wearing. Can more companies adopt this concept please? Since many of us feel that we’re losing the battle against all those who treat the world as one big living room where it’s acceptable to watch and listen to family videos, HBO serials and porn in public, is it not time for clever business owners to define spaces of serenity and calm? Moreover, is it not time to give power back to managers and let them enforce clearly signposted house rules?

5. Time for a sensibility summit?
Davos might be off yet again but could someone please convene a swift conference that gets businesses and governments back to a path to sensible decision-making. Fast, fast! I’m happy to host a gathering of leaders in need of challenging ideas and concepts that step out of an ever-narrowing channel of narratives and so-called solutions. Should we aim for something in the coming three weeks? I’m all ears at tb@monocle.

Eating out / Tom’s Sandwich, Hiroshima

Shifting sandos

Once a beacon in Tokyo’s Daikanyama neighbourhood, Tom’s Sandwich has found a new home in Onomichi, Hiroshima. Owners Tomoki and Yuriko Sato opened their restaurant in 1973 and their US-style sandwiches and warm hospitality won it a loyal following. “We decided to close,” says Tomoki. “It was about time. I’m 80 now.” When it shuttered in April 2019, one of the regulars invited the duo to Onomichi and they fell in love with the place.

Image: Kentaro Ito
Image: Kentaro Ito

Six months later they moved to the city with their two daughters and a granddaughter, as well as four dogs; every member of the family now helps with the relocated business. “Life is gentle here, with fresh air and a stunning ocean. I needed to do something,” says Tomoki, who has come out of retirement. In 2020, they brought back the much-missed Tom’s Sandwich. “We have great customers and people from Tokyo visit us too. We want to energise Onomichi with young folks,” says the sprightly octogenarian.

Raising the bar / Saga, New York

Living the high life

For all of the tens of thousands of restaurants in New York, there are few that offer both brilliant views and superb food. Which is what makes Saga, from the team behind Crown Shy, all the more compelling. Inside an art deco building in the Financial District, guests are whisked from the red-marble lobby up to the 63rd floor, which is filled with green-marble tables, dangling Japanese lanterns, hand-lacquered chairs and artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Image: Adrian Gaut

The space was designed by MN in collaboration with developer Nathan Bruckner; in the backdrop guests can see the twinkling lights of Manhattan and the Hudson River. The menu is a seven-to-10-course set dinner, created by chef and co-founder James Kent (formerly of Eleven Madison Park), and it takes diners on a New York journey via French-cuisine journey through plates of fluke, Maine lobster with caviar, and a brown-butter crumble. The only disappointing part of the whole experience is taking the lift all the way back down.

Sunday roast / Mory Sacko

Fusion energy

Mory Sacko’s restaurant Mosuke in Paris’s 14th arrondissement is fast becoming one of the toughest reservations in a city of hard-to-snag tables. Fusing European, African and Asian cuisines, Sacko’s imaginative cooking and warm hospitality have turned him into a culinary sensation. Here, Sacko tells us about his favourite French rapper, his love of boiled eggs and buttered toast, and his go-to lunch stop in the Marais.

Image: Chris Saunders

Where will you be spending this weekend?
I’m not sure. I never know my plans for the weekend.

What is your ideal start to a Sunday? A gentle start or a jolt?
Definitely gentle. Sunday is the only day of the week when I can sleep in so I like to make the most of it before a good brunch.

Soundtrack of choice?
I have been listening to [French rapper] Orelsan’s recent album Civilisation.

What’s for breakfast?
Boiled eggs. I eat so many. The most important thing is to have heavily buttered toast to dip into the yolk.

News or no news?
I look at the news a little but I mostly check the sports results. I’m a big football fan; I follow La Liga [the Spanish league] and the Premier League in the UK, so there’s always something to catch up on.

What’s for lunch?
It depends on the kind of week I’ve had. But I like going out for a bite and a walk. I love Miznon in the Marais. It does pitta-bread sandwiches, falafel and an incredible roasted cauliflower. Its boeuf bourguignon pitta is also exceptional, albeit very rich.

A glass of something you would recommend?
Genmaicha tea with toasted buckwheat grains. It tastes a little like popcorn and appeals to the kid in me.

Any larder essentials that you can’t do without?
I love using different types of peppers from Cameroon, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire. These are countries with land that can cultivate many varieties. Chillies too, because I need heat in my Sunday meals. And also the most essential ingredient for any French person: butter.

A Sunday culture must?
I’m reading The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, the latest Prix Goncourt winner. But I haven’t finished it so I’ll have to give you an update when I’m done.

A Sunday dinner?
I often go to see my mother on Sundays and, like most mothers, she gives me armfuls of food to take home. I love eating the food that she makes: traditional African dishes such as thieboudienne or yassa chicken. So my Sunday dinners are often whatever she gives me.

Will you be laying out your outfit for Monday?
No, I don’t anticipate. My Sunday evening routine is to be as relaxed as possible. I pretend that Monday doesn’t exist until the moment I go to bed. I’ll deal with whatever needs to be dealt with on Monday.


Chicken noodle broth

Swiss chef Ralph Schelling offers a restorative recipe for those of you who have overdone it during the festive season. For an Asian-inspired twist you can add grated ginger, galangal and lemongrass, as well as soy or ponzu. Enjoy.

Illustration: Xihanation

Serves 4

50g smoked bacon
2 onions
3-4 medium-sized potatoes
2 carrots
100g celery
1 leek
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
600g chicken legs
2 bay leaves
2 litres vegetable stock
200g ribbon noodles
Parsley for serving

Cut the bacon into 1cm cubes. Peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and chop the potatoes and carrots into 3cm chunks. Wash the celery and leek, and cut them into 2cm pieces.

Melt the butter in a saucepan (or pour in the oil) and sauté the diced onion and bacon over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken legs and sauté again for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaves to the pot with the chicken and fill until they’re covered with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil once and simmer, covered, over a medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken legs from the pot, set aside and allow to cool. Add the noodles to the pot and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Once the chicken drumsticks have cooled, remove the skin, separate the meat from the bones and divide into chunks. Return the chicken to the pot.

To serve, divide between four deep bowls and sprinkle each with chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Weekend plans? / Valletta

Harbour lights

Valletta, the Maltese capital, comprises two natural harbours and a promontory. A ferry brings passengers to the nearby neighbourhood of Birgu in 10 minutes, providing residents with a picturesque journey to work or to run errands (you can take a traditional dghajsa water taxi if you prefer).

“It’s a very desirable place to live, with great historical energy and wonderful scenery,” says Claude Zammit Trevisan (pictured), owner of shop and leather goods atelier Birgu Blue, which opened in 2019. After stints in London, Paris and Rome working for the Malta Tourism Authority, Trevisan returned to Valletta and started this venture. He brought in Taiwanese designer Ozzy Chien to create a collection of bags and accessories that Trevisan sells alongside regional wine and jam made from the island’s fruit. His business also includes guest rooms. “There’s less competition here than in bigger cities and space to grow if you bring some creativity to the table,” he says. “We’re well connected, with direct flights to major cities, and there’s a fast car-ferry service to Sicily that takes 90 minutes,” he says. Another plus is the recent conversion of many of the city’s abundant rooftop spaces for entertaining and barbecues.

There is plenty of work for architects and interior designers here. The dozens of cranes on the skyline indicate a boom in construction, as do older palazzos covered in scaffolding. It’s what attracted Tunisian architect and illustrator Noura Abdelhafidh, who was drawn to the beauty of the city’s urban townhouses and their gallariji (covered wooden balconies, typically painted in contrasting colours) that jut out from their façades. “Malta still feels like a land of possibility,” she says. “There’s space to innovate and experiment.”

For our full report on the city, plus two more sunny European outposts that you’d do well to scout out, pick up a copy of ‘The Forecast’, which is out now.

The Stack / ‘Direction of Travel’

Taking flight

Christian Nolle’s fascination with aviation took off in childhood. “It’s why I started collecting flight maps,” says the designer, who started biannual title Direction of Travel in 2020. Published on newsprint, it focuses on vintage airline route maps. “I realised that the newspaper format would be a great way to show people these drawings,” says Nolle. “Mainly it’s because you can print it quite cheaply and you can go really big on images.” Featuring colourful sketches collected over the past 15 years, each issue focuses on a different aspect of two major airlines’ stories. The latest volume, issue three, is available to buy online and charts Alitalia and Swissair’s networks between the 1940s and 1980s. “When you look at books about vintage maps they’re all immaculate but there’s no real sense of the material,” says Nolle. “Maps are made of paper. They’re meant to be folded. I want to show people the beauty of these things.”

Parting shot / Regime

Running start

Eyeing up a leaner, fitter, faster start to 2022? Then you’re not alone. Here we suggest seven smart additions to your kit bag for the new year. Let’s start at the bottom, shall we? We have our eyes on Swiss brand On’s Cloudnova trainers, which incorporate cutting-edge technology and an elegant, minimalist design; or its equally fetching, lower-rise Cloudflow model, if you’re planning to stay on the road and off the muddy track. US sportswear brand Tracksmith, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, does a brisk trade in time-tested running kit, from which we’d select a pair of Twilight shorts and a Harrier T-shirt.

Should the weather be on the brisk side, you’ll need another layer; you won’t go far wrong with Rapha’s Explore Hooded Gore-Tex pullover, which comes in a smart navy blue and can easily be packed to fit into your tote. If you’re after something that will see you through the wind and rain – and then straight into the office – we recommend the sleek, minimalist Arc’Teryx Veilance Mionn IS jacket, which is both lightweight and made using versatile, weather-resistant materials.

While we like to run to get the blood pumping and clear our heads, we won’t judge you if you prefer your exertions to be accompanied by a thumping soundtrack. Bang & Olufsen’s wireless in-ear Beoplay E8 Sport earphones will do the job. Finally, for an upgrade to your set of (two) wheels, we’d point to Finnish cyclemaker Pelago’s new Stavanger model, available to pre-order now, or an electric number from Berlin brand Schindelhauer, such as the Arthur, which has a motor to help you climb hills but thankfully doesn’t weigh a tonne.

Made a resolution to seize the day, exercise your imagination more and start the year off on the right foot? A Monocle subscription is a yearlong regime that will help you improve your life and business, and scan the horizon for fresh ideas. Have a super Sunday.


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