Sunday 13 March 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 13/3/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Need to know

This week our global itinerary whisks readers past a timeless new shop in Tokyo, makes tracks in Italy and checks in at a smart members’ club-cum-hotel in upstate New York. We’ll also stir up some Catalonian cuisine and profile a refreshing piece of design in Helsinki. First, Tyler Brûle is in Portugal.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Hot spots

Bom dia! Bom dia! We have a lot of ground to cover today (most of it in Portugal, some of it in the Alps with a side-order of flat terrain in Paris), so pull on your spongiest socks, lace up your Vejas (they now do a nice trail-running style by the way) and don’t you dare don any strange athleisure, as we need to look presentable and put-together whenever we venture beyond the front door. Off we go.

Lisbon, a rooftop restaurant, Sunday evening. We’re dining with a few French friends and the room is packed. Nearby we have some men from Luanda meeting a lanky, shifty British chap. There’s some kind of deal being done but what sort? Has he been dispatched from the Foreign Office to source a fresh energy supply from the former Portuguese colony? Or is he brokering a deal to sell off another football club? Behind us a tubby, slightly scary-looking man who might be from somewhere like Irkutsk is shown to his table. He’s accompanied by six young women who are all leggy and under 20. They’re most definitely not his daughters or nieces and he’s not doing a casting for a sunny version of Siberia’s Got Talent, so who is he and why has he been shown to a private nook behind curtains? Should I introduce him to the British broker across the way? Perhaps he has a football club he wants to offload.

Porto, the studio of a fashion distributor. We’re assembled around a table heaped with sweatshirt and underwear samples. Yes, Monocle is expanding its range and we’re looking at cuts, colours and fabric quality with some of our team, representatives from a factory, a production pro and my friend André, who is running the process. When we get to discussing delivery lead times, the pair from the factory start beaming. “We are so busy,” says one. “We’ve never been busier!” says the other. “It’s incredible how much production is coming back to Europe and so much of it is happening in Portugal.” This makes me happy too: China has behaved appallingly throughout the pandemic (let us never forget how unco-operative Beijing has been about getting to the bottom of the origin of coronavirus), is playing an equally irresponsible role in the Ukraine conflict and deserves to lose its status as the world’s factory. Vai Portugal!

I’ve said it before but in case you missed it, this city could become Europe’s Honolulu – in a good way.

The Foz district of Porto, lunchtime, a cosy restaurant. André is in charge of the orders. This is a super-local establishment and the regular diners have probably been sitting down for hearty lunches as long as the waiters have been serving up tasty fishy and beefy dishes. The waiters are all in matching striped shirts and denim; some gentlemen from the local university are in matching blazers and ties. It’s a mature, well-run operation and if you ask politely I’ll tell you the name of said establishment. You’ll find me at

Madeira, a sleepy side street in the centre of Funchal. There are many empty shopfronts. I’ve said it before but in case you missed it, this city could become Europe’s Honolulu – in a good way. Or maybe the new Palma? The architecture is outstanding, the orange-glass light fixtures along the streets offer a warm glow (the city needs to kill the white lights that they’re allowing to creep into the urban landscape) and the visitors might even be getting a bit younger. It’s time to take a look if you’ve not been. Also, the Atlantic was a perfect 19C at the time of penning this column.

London, Chiltern Street, Saturday 19 March. You’re having your first flat white of the day while touring our new shop on Chiltern Street, meeting your favourite editors and checking out the fresh duds at Trunk. The day gets rolling at 10.00.

St Moritz, 1 April, early eve. You’re enjoying a little apéro with the Monocle crew for our first Weekender of 2022. Later, you’ll enjoy a reading by author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer from his new book, Grand Hotel Europa, a preview of our spring collection, fine drinks and an evening on the dancefloor at Dracula. For tickets, sign up here and all questions can go to Hannah Grundy at

Paris, 3 June. Monocle’s Quality of Life Conference 2022 is underway at Le19M, home to some of Chanel’s ateliers and their devoted craftsmanship in pleating, millinery, and jewellery design and production. Reserve your spot now for the full event, which runs from the evening of Thursday 2 June to the morning of Saturday 4 June.

New opening / Inness, Accord, NY

Hearth and home

Entrepreneur Taavo Somer (pictured) picked the Catskills as the location for his latest project, Inness. The members’ club, restaurant, 40-room hotel, golf course and farm shop has opened in the town of Accord, 155km north of New York City. Set on about 90 hectares of undulating woodland, the site is dotted with various buildings and 28 cabins designed with Brooklyn studio Post Company. From our vantage point we can see the slick, black Japanese-style cabins, as well as a circular swimming pool next to a white-slatted farmhouse.

Image: Dorsa
Image: Dorsa

“There’s a lot of colonial Dutch-style architecture around here so we wanted there to be an element of that,” says Somer, who is wearing a flannel shirt and denim jeans. While he has dabbled in the hotel business and is involved in the Hotel Kinsley in nearby Kingston, Somer is best known as the founder of Lower East Side institution Freemans. The restaurant was and remains one of the best-loved gathering spots in the city and Inness could be on track to become the upstate equivalent. “There’s a new clientele, who came upstate during the pandemic,” says Somer. “They were used to living in Brooklyn or Manhattan. Now they’re here and wondering where to get dinner on a Tuesday night.” As well as weeknight grub, there’s also a glass-panelled shop, which is designed to mimic the area’s farm stands and stocks local and international lifestyle products, including Eleven Six alpaca-wool shawls and fragrances by Lake & Skye, which is owned by Somer’s wife Courtney.

Accord address book:

Accord Market.
A polished grocer with cheese, vegetables and all the usual urban conveniences (organic cleaning products, anyone?).

Westwind Orchard.
Founded by an Italian and a former New Yorker, Westwind makes seasonal pizzas, often served on a sprawling lawn where groups spread out on blankets in the summer.

Arrowood Farms.
Here, the farmhouse-style beer is brewed from ingredients that are grown on the property. There’s also a laid-back restaurant, The Apiary, which highlights nearby growers and producers.

Ollie’s Pizza.
Another new pizza place in High Falls, which whips up old-school, Roman-style pizzas in a simple, wood-clad space.

Mill & Main Provisions.
In the neighbouring town of Kerhonkson, this one-stop shop stocks delicious items from pastries to salumi.

House news / Quality of Life Conference

Join us

Monocle’s editors would like to invite you to Paris on Thursday 2 June for our latest Quality of Life Conference. Some 200 delegates from around the world will enjoy insights from 20 industry-leading speakers on everything from design to diplomacy and development – and much more besides; not to mention cocktails, culture and atelier tours.


With the Friday anchored at Chanel’s new craft and innovation centre Le19M, the three-day event will include a proper Parisian evening of fun, featuring dinner and dancing, all hosted by the Monocle team. Along the way you’ll be meeting like-minded peers and building connections with some of the most exciting players in the global conversation. And you’ll leave with fresh ideas and insights to revitalise your cities, homes and lives. We’ll see you there.

Sunday Roast / Carme Pinós

In construction

Over the past 30 years, Carme Pinós has cemented her status as one of Spain’s leading architects (writes Carolina Abbott Galvão). Her Barcelona-based studio has undertaken projects that include public architecture, social housing and object design across Mexico, Australia and France. Here, she tells us about her vegetable garden, life in Mallorca and the larder essentials she can’t live without.

Where do we find you this weekend?
In Mallorca, in my little house in front of the sea, preferably enjoying the view with friends.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
A calm start, with no plans. I like taking the time to enjoy a good breakfast and read.

Soundtrack of choice?
Jazz. Recently, I started listening to more classical music but I always return to jazz.

News or not?
I read the news every morning but just superficially. I don’t want it to take up a lot of my time.

Some exercise to get the blood pumping?
Every day, I walk for an hour after I’m done with work. It’s been more than two years since I’ve taken a car.

Lunch in or out?
I’m making an effort to eat at home more. I cook very basic meals with good ingredients.

Larder essentials you can’t do without?
Seasonal fruit and vegetables – even better if they’re from my garden. I also usually have anchovies and cod in the fridge.

A glass of something you’d recommend?
Every morning, I wake up with a ginger and lemon infusion.

Ideal dinner venue?
Honestly, I’d rather someone else picked the venue.

What’s on the menu?
Any vegetable with fish.

What will you be wearing on Monday?
It depends on my schedule but I usually try to dress well. Even when I don’t have meetings, I like fashion and think it’s important, even if no one else is around.

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

Roasted cauliflower with romesco

This week, London-based recipe writer Aya Nishimura whips up a Catalonian classic. Romesco is a fiery tomato-based sauce made with peppers, paprika and chilli that’s usually served with fish: this riff on the classic comes with roasted cauliflower as a snack, side or starter.

Illustration: Xihanation, Mathieu De Muizon

Serves 4

1 large cauliflower, stems removed and broken into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the romesco sauce:
2 medium tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves (skin on)
1 red pepper
¼ small onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 dried ñora pepper (optional)
40g blanched (skinned) almonds
15g stale white bread, crust removed
¼ tsp sea salt
Large pinch crushed black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsps sherry vinegar
⅛ tsp smoked sweet paprika powder

Preheat the oven to 175C. If you are using the ñora pepper, soak it in hot water for 30 minutes. Put weight on it to submerge in the water.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, red peppers and onion on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes (or until they begin to char). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Roast the blanched almonds for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Toss the cauliflower with oil, salt and pepper, then place on a baking tray and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until it browns.

While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the romesco sauce. Remove and discard the cores of the tomatoes, garlic skin and the seeds and stems of the peppers.

Remove ñora pepper from water, scrape the inner flesh with the back of a knife and add to an electric blender. Discard the skin and seeds. Add the roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, pepper and the remaining sauce ingredients, and blend until it forms a coarse paste. When the cauliflower is roasted, serve it with the sauce.

Weekend plans? / Four Seasons, Fort Lauderdale

All aboard

At 525 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, the Four Seasons boasts a design that plays on the city’s nautical past, with a transatlantic design crew at the helm (writes Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore). The 189-key building’s curves, courtesy of Miami architect Kobi Karp, are reminiscent of sails, while London-based Martin Brudnizki Design Studio has created a sun deck complete with two infinity pools and plenty of greenery. The hotel’s café and champagne bar, Honey Fitz, is named after the presidential yacht used by John F Kennedy.

Image: Tom Ross

British designer Tara Bernerd (pictured) outfitted much of the hotel’s interior, which draws on what she calls the “palmy Floridian river lifestyle”. For her, Fort Lauderdale has something of the French Riviera about it, albeit with a more upfront, tropical twist. Varnished wooden accents take their cue from classic yachts designed by heritage US boatbuilder Chris-Craft. Added to the mix are restrained mid-century-inspired furniture and windows framed in antique brass. The bespoke pieces were created by Tara Bernerd & Partners for the hotel, including an oversized credenza in the lobby, based on a vintage 1950s Italian piece in the designer’s own London home. “We do not cut and paste,” she says. “Every project has a character of its own. I don’t theme things. But it’s a little homage to where we are.”

Top of the shops / Lost and Found, Tokyo

Dish of the day

To anyone in the Japanese hospitality business, Nikko is a familiar name (writes Fiona Wilson). The company has been making pristine bone-china tableware in Ishikawa since 1908. Dine at any number of hotels and restaurants in Tokyo and you’re likely to be eating from a Nikko plate. But what the company lacked was a place to introduce the brand to everyone else. “We wanted somewhere to show the quality of what we make, maybe even to young chefs who might be starting their own restaurants,” says managing director Naoki Mitani, whose family has run the Nikko business for decades.

Image: Yoshitsugu Fuminari

The new Tokyo shop, Lost and Found, is divided in two and separated by a brick arch, an allusion to an old tunnel kiln. The product line-up is a tight selection of goods from Japan and overseas, from tea towels and wine glasses to scrubbing brushes and bins. There’s a showroom and kitchen downstairs for trade buyers. Some customers will be meeting the brand for the first time in the new shop. The most popular product so far is the Nagi range of tableware but Mitani is eager to introduce people to Nikko’s signature plain white dishes. “You can buy a cheap white plate for ¥100 [€1] but what we do at Nikko is very high quality,” he says. “This shop allows us to show customers the difference.”

Making tracks / Orient Express La Dolce Vita

Take your time

Italy, already recognised for the strides it has made in high-speed train travel, is preparing to slow things down with a new rail service that expands the Orient Express brand (writes Ivan Carvalho). The project is being spearheaded by Italian hospitality brand Arsenale together with French hotel group Accor and has been dubbed the Orient Express La Dolce Vita.

Six trains are planned and the first two are set to depart Rome in 2023. They will head first to Paris before arriving in Istanbul and Split, as well as taking journeys on long-forgotten lines in the Bel Paese. These include those used to reach Matera and the Transiberiana d’Italia route, which passes through the high plateaus and mountains of Abruzzo.

The rolling stock, which will run on both electrified and conventional lines, will comprise top-of-the-line Trenitalia Intercity models from the 1980s that will undergo an interior renovation from Milan-based Dimorestudio to create a laid-back 1970-inspired take on onboard luxury. Every train will hold 31 premium sleeper cabins and have a restaurant in one carriage and a lounge bar in another. You know where to find us.

Parting shot / Aalto bar cart

Perfect vintage

Every month in the magazine we select a thing, person or place that made our day, from a fluffy Eurasier pup to a wise hotel GM. This month we pay tribute to a refreshing piece of design from the Helsinki Savoy.

This bentwood birch bar trolley from 1936 was a key part of Alvar and Aino Aalto’s original design for the recently revamped Savoy restaurant in Helsinki.


There are now two of the original trolleys under chef-patron Helena Puolakka’s roof. The first can be found beside barman Aleksi Mehtonen and the second is wheeled out to tables – a finishing touch to the spot-on service.

Stay updated and inspired with a subscription to the magazine. It helps to support our independent journalism. Have a super Sunday.


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