Sunday 29 May 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 29/5/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Taste tour

This week we find ourselves in a secluded Japanese forest for a Sunday Roast and try out a new Milanese mainstay for dinner. We also sample Swedish cider and an artful new pension in Portugal’s Estremoz before a spin in a new German-made bike. First in the saddle? Tyler Brûlé.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Capital assets

Many eyes will have been fixed on the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool last night but it could be argued that the Spanish capital is the clear winner irrespective of results on the pitch – particularly when it comes to good living and outstanding urbanism. No offence, Liverpool, but you get where I’m coming from. On Thursday I touched down in Madrid for a 24-hour visit and, damn, did it feel good. (My last trip there was three years ago for our Quality of Life Conference.) A super dry 24C, gentle breeze and sunny skies always give a city a head start but there was a certain spring in Madrid’s step that I could feel the second I stepped out of the car in Salamanca and started to survey the scene. Here are just a few observations.

The Greatest Effort. On previous visits I’ve always remarked how well put together the Madrileños are. The women sport bouncy hair, good jewellery, gentle tans and, at this time of year, a good wedge. For the men? A lean loafer, a well-cut chino, a trim custom-made shirt, more bouncy hair and maybe a safari jacket, slightly nipped-in at the waist. I was a little worried that all of this good personal style might have fallen victim to the athleisure pandemic but the locals aren’t interested in that. If anything, the city felt even more chic than usual. In short, there was plenty to take in.

Speaking of wedges… I spent an hour with the talented team from Pedro García, a very chic shoe firm featured in the spring edition of Konfekt. We started in their top-floor office in Salamanca and when we descended onto the shop floor, the whole place was a maze of stacked shoeboxes and pairs of chic ladies trying on wedges, sandals and dazzling little flats. If you’re looking for something new from a family-owned, 100 per cent “Made in Spain” luxury brand, check them out. They also do a very elegant slipper for men.

Reunion. The Four Seasons has thrown open its doors in Madrid and it felt like most of Texas has moved in. When the hotel explained the various add-ons that came with the room, it was outlined in US dollars with the poor euro barely getting a mention in the discussion. After a speedy check-in, I made my way to Dani Garcia’s packed and pretty rooftop restaurant for a reunion with friends Miguel and Enrique. Under that perfect sky, with super service, excellent dishes and outstanding wine, we caught up on Madrid’s more measured approach to keeping the city buoyant during the pandemic. The policy has clearly worked as there are few signs of pockmarked streetscapes filled with vacancy notices.

A little secret. I met a friend for a gimlet or two at Bar Cock later that evening. If you don’t know it, it’s much more, ummm, upstanding than it sounds. Anyway, many of you might know him as the former editor of one of the world’s best design magazines. His former title is now a complete catastrophe but the good news is that he’s launching something new. We’ll keep you up to date on his sunny new venture.

Zoom! No, no, not that kind of Zoom! Think Spanish high-speed rail zoom in the form of the AVE from Madrid’s Atocha station to Málaga. The country gets high marks for having the world’s second-biggest high-speed train network but it’s time for a little upgrade on the food and comfort front: some of that Madrid and regional culinary brilliance needs to take up a residence in the dining car.

Costa del Sol. There’s something up on the Costa del Sol and it’s all quite inspiring and exciting. Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan is doing villas in Sotogrande; Málaga’s mayor continues to transform the city; and even Torremolinos is showing signs of a reinvention. We’ll be keeping an eye on this stretch of Europe’s sun belt for sure. Till then, there’ll be plenty from our Quality of Life Conference in Paris on Monocle 24, on screen and in our forthcoming issues, so subscribe now to make sure you don’t miss out. Coverage kicks off from Thursday. If you hustle, you can maybe – just maybe – secure a seat.

Bottom’s up / Brutes Cider, Stockholm

Core business

“Apples are our grapes,” says designer and Stockholm-native Brad Sawicki about his choice to launch a Swedish sparkling cider (writes Sebastian Stephenson). He’s one of the five co-founders behind Brutes, which released its first vintage in spring 2020. More akin to viticultural techniques than traditional cider-making, the idea for Brutes stemmed from the quintet’s taste for natural wine. “We probably would have loved to make wine but the business forced us into something that’s a little bit more creative,” says Sawicki. “We explored the apples, the pears and all the other fruits of Sweden to make something like wine.” The result? Sparkling pét-nats (where sediment is left in the bottle to carbonate) with dashing glass bottles designed with illustrator Mark Edwin Wetzel. The team now makes seven flavours and frequently tries out new, fruity experiments using the previous year’s macerations.

Image: Tony Hay

Eating out / Langosteria, Milan

Scaling up

Not content with decamping to the Ligurian coast in summer or opening a Parisian outpost, the Langosteria fish empire continues to expand. The latest addition from effervescent founder Enrico Buonocore (pictured, on right) is a new space nextdoor to the Via Savona address in Milan where he first made his name.

Image: Paola Pansini, Brambilla/Serrani
Image: Paola Pansini, Brambilla/Serrani

The focus is on the freshest produce, with plenty of excellent crudo, including a red-prawn tartare from Mazara del Vallo in Sicily. There is a tasting menu (a first for Langosteria) but the à la carte is stripped back to allow for more grazing and sharing. The move away from a white-tablecloth bistro to a more dimly lit 1970s-style lounge by Dimorestudio, which designed the interiors for the new Orient Express trains, tempts diners to try the oyster bar and cocktails. When it comes to the latter, the “ukiyo” – champagne, yuzu, gin and avocado – took our fancy.

Sunday Roast / Ed Ng

Branching out

Designer Ed Ng is co-founder of AB Concept in Japan and lives in one of Karuizawa’s peaceful forests (writes Annabel Martin). Born and raised in Hong Kong, he founded his studio with Terence Ngan in 1999. They went on to work with firms including Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. Ed tells us about his go-to Japanese breakfast, making ginger ale and perfecting his golf swing.

Where will we find you this weekend?
I’m visiting an onsen within the Asama 2000 ski park. It is about half an hour’s drive from my house and about 2,000 metres above sea level. I live at about 1,000 metres above sea level, so it’s a lot cooler at the onsen and I’ll be able to enjoy fresh air at the hot spring.

Ideal start to a Sunday? A gentle start or a jolt?
My dog will come and poke me or jump on my bed and wake me up. The only difference on Sunday is that I can snooze for another 30 minutes.

What’s for breakfast?
On Sundays I always enjoy the traditional Japanese breakfast, which consists of rice and a selection of very simple ingredients, such as fresh farm eggs, soy sauce and fish. Fish is always included in Japanese breakfast. The plate comes with a variety of homemade pickled vegetables. It’s a very simple and down-to-earth meal that makes you feel good.

Lunch in or out?
Spring is the best season to enjoy our outdoor deck in the middle of the forest. We already have charcoal so after breakfast we’ll stop by the supermarket and buy something for an outdoor grilled lunch.

Any exercise? Downward dog or dog walk?
I stop by the driving range 10 minutes from home. It has become a weekly habit purely because of how close it is. There is a vending machine from which you can get just one basket of golf balls and practise your swing for half an hour.

A Sunday soundtrack?
I will always turn on Lisa Ono’s bossa nova playlist on Spotify. The perfect vibe for a Sunday.

Sunday culture must?
It’s a blessing that I am in Karuizawa. There are a few very big nurseries close to home that sell an extensive selection of seasonal potted and cut flowers. There are also a dozen small art museums around the neighbourhood – always a must. But, of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without stopping at the supermarket for groceries.

News or not?
I tend to stay away from social media and the news on Sundays. I’d rather enjoy my day without being attached to a tablet or phone.

A glass of something?
Since we moved to Karuizawa I have enjoyed making ginger ale. I like the extra kick of real ginger and Sunday is the day when I can make it and keep it in the fridge to enjoy for the rest of the week.

Are you preparing Monday’s outfit?
Since I’ve been living in the forest, Monday’s outfit is the same as Sunday’s outfit.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Yoghurt with fennel pollen, olive oil, sea salt and honey

This week our Swiss chef shares a simple yoghurt recipe. “It’s inspired by a snack which I once got to-go from Lilia in Brooklyn,” says Schelling. “It’s highly recommended.” You can also add seasonal berries for a colourful kick.

Illustration: Xihanation

Serves 4 as a snack

4 tbsps natural yoghurt (try to find some with about 3.6 per cent fat)
1 litre whole milk
4 tbsps runny blossom honey
4 tbsps fennel pollen
4 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
4 pinches of sea salt flakes


Heat the milk in a saucepan to about 35C to 40C, then stir in the yoghurt.

Pour into clean, sterilised jars, close with a lid or foil and let rest for about 8 hours, either at room temperature if it’s warm out or in the oven at a maximum of 40C.

After it’s thickened, you should refrigerate the yoghurt for at least 2 hours and then add the honey, fennel pollen, olive oil and sea salt as a topping. Enjoy.

Weekend plans? / Casa do Gadanha, Estremoz

Hitting the heights

Image: Rodrigo Cardoso
Image: Rodrigo Cardoso
Image: Rodrigo Cardoso

The hilltop city of Estremoz in Alentejo, Portugal, has long had plenty to offer, from tiny wine bars to a lively antiques market. Yet it lacked a small, characterful hotel at its heart. That changed in March, when Brazilian chef Michele Marques and her Portuguese husband opened the 12-key Casa do Gadanha. Its rooftop wine bar offers striking views of the city, while downstairs is a bistro that serves dishes inspired by the region and crisp pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.

Tech corner / Audio Pro C10 MKII speaker

Ace for bass

Audio Pro’s update to its C10 speaker improves on the original by adding extra bass as part of a balanced, detailed sound (writes David Phelan). Though it offers plenty of oomph, it’s a versatile model that’s suitable for subtler playlists too.

Image: Tony Hay

It’s light and portable, with a useful leather carry handle; you can also connect several speakers wirelessly for multi-room audio. This limited-edition version comes in two colours: a demure sand and perky sage green. Its new connectivity options offer users a choice of ways to play music wirelessly. You can also pick up the C10 in black, grey or white; these come with a removable speaker grille for a more discreet aesthetic but lack the nifty carry handle.

Make my day / Schindelhauer Bikes

Life cycle

Jörg Schindelhauer and his team certainly know a thing or two about what makes a smooth ride. Berlin-based Schindelhauer Bikes, which Schindelhauer co-founded, has been using German engineering to create state-of-the-art bicycles since 2009. This two-wheeler’s good looks belie some deft design: there’s an innovative belt drive in place of a chain on this Arthur IX model. Take one out for a spin this summer. Oh, and have a super Sunday.

Image: Felix Brüggemann

For more day-making delights, pick up Monocle’s June issue, which is out now. Or subscribe today to guarantee your copy.


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