Sunday. 24/7/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

What’s in store

This week we scope out a tasty staple that’s been brought back to brilliance by a new owner in Madrid. We also drop anchor in the Cyclades and tap our toes to a playlist for sunbathing. Plus: the weekly recipe rustles up a cool drink to refresh you before we hear about the merits of taking the slow train. But who’s that coming up on the outside track? Why, it’s Monocle’s editorial director, Tyler Brûlé.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Terminal positivity

Today we start with a positive story about European airport travel, investment in infrastructure, a pragmatic approach to security and pride in service. Buckle-up – I’m driving!

It’s Tuesday morning and the traffic in Zürich is on the light side: schools are out and most vehicles with ZH licence plates are now parked at bagni in Forte dei Marmi, villas high above Nice or shady vineyards in Südtirol. The city is officially “off”, so I’ve decided to drive to the airport rather than take the train. For most journeys to the airport I like the dependability of taking the silent S16 knowing that I’ll be at the platform on the dot and through security five minutes later. But for this two-night jaunt to Málaga I’ve opted to drive as the airport has been relatively calm, the weather good and I can blast some tunes to get into a Med mood – on repeat are Pablo Albáron’s “Carretera y manta” and Chanel’s “SloMo”.

The ride through town is smooth, with people walking back from their morning lake swims or enjoying coffees under striped awnings. The pace is gentle, relaxed, but there’s still a sense of industry and feeling that essential tasks are being accomplished. Twenty-two minutes after setting out I pull up in front of the barricade at departures, push a little stainless steel button, announce myself and the yellow gate rises. I drive 20 metres, stop kerbside, open the boot, grab my bags and walk a few steps to the attendant in charge of the valet service. “Grüezi, Herr Brûlé,” he says and then asks when I’m landing and whether I want the car washed. I’ve never seen this man before but the system knows the plate number and he’s all smiles and efficiency. I go for a full wash for the car, the flight details are recorded and I hand over the key. If I was more organised and forward-thinking I could also leave my laundry with him and a shopping list so that there’s milk and juice for my return but I’m not, so I’ll have to make do with the basics.

Not all airports were created equal: really good ones understand their audience and constantly invest in removing friction

Inside, the terminal is busy but not kooky chaotic – just a reassuringly buzzy airport in the middle of high summer. The polite and attentive security process takes less than a minute end to end and has been designed so that it’s attached to the Swiss lounge; I’m enjoying a coffee and catching up on work moments later. The flight is on time and it’s an easy stroll to the gate. Boarding has already commenced and everyone knows the drill, so there’s minimal fuss in the air bridge and pram origami at door one. The captain takes the mic at the front of the cabin and addresses everyone in German, then English and then Spanish. Impressive. He explains that everything is working well in Zürich but French air-traffic control has staff shortages; we’re going to be a bit late taking off but it won’t delay things more than two minutes. Two hours later we touch down in Málaga (try the very, very tasty La Cosmo for lunch or dinner); three hours later I check into the Marbella Club; and two days after that I’m back in Zürich, the car is washed and waiting, and it’s a zippy drive home.

The moral of this story is manifold. First, don’t believe all the scaremongering about air travel and terminal meltdowns. Second, not all airports were created equal: really good ones understand their audience and constantly invest in removing friction. Third, social capital also plays a part in seamless travel. Treating passengers like adults rather than infants creates self-sufficiency rather than group helplessness and stupidity. Fourth, cars can (and should) be accommodated in a civilised manner for easy drop-offs and pick-ups. Fifth, if you’re passing through Zürich Airport over the coming months, pay us a visit. On Wednesday we open a perky, yellow-USM structure just beyond duty-free full of the best in print, classic Monocle travel items and special Swiss-made treats. We look forward to hosting you.

Eating out / Gran Café Santander, Madrid

At your service

Something has shifted in Madrid’s Plaza de Santa Bárbara (writes Francheska Melendez). On the northern end of the plaza, which is lined with architectural gems from the turn of the 20th century, an old restaurant has been given a new lease of life: welcome to Gran Café Santander.

Image: Ben Roberts
Image: Ben Roberts

The original Gran Cafetería Santander, a reliable and beloved greasy spoon, was run by the same family for more than 50 years before shutting in 2019. It was then that Paco Quirós and Carlos Crespo of Grupo Cañadío saw an opportunity to use the space to develop the concept of a Spanish cafetería that pays homage to Europe’s grand cafés of yore. The pair enlisted the help of interior designer Sandra Tarruella, who referenced the 1970s in details such as handmade olive-green tiles behind the walnut-topped bar and illuminated orange block letters from the original exterior sign.

“Our food is traditional,” says chef Jesús Alonso. “Our objective has always been to ensure that the customer returns because what they’ve eaten is delicious and because they’ve been treated well.” Alonso emphasises that the dishes on the menu “very much exemplify Cantabria” in reference to the restaurant group’s roots in the region. Some of the Gran Café Santander’s classics include perennial Spanish favourites such as fried croquetas and a sublimely soft and savoury egg tortilla.
grancafesantander.com

Sunday Roast / Charlotte dos Santos

Good vibrations

Born in Oslo, jazz artist Charlotte dos Santos’s international sound reflects her upbringing by a Brazilian father and Norwegian mother. Following the success of two EPs in 2020, the singer-songwriter’s first album Morfo is out later this year. Here, she tells us about slow-moving Sunday mornings, sailing and a favourite recipe.

Image: Lily Betrand-Webb

Where will we find you this weekend?
If the weather is nice I’ll take a boat to one of the fjord islands for a day on the beach. This Sunday evening I’ll be at an outdoor arthouse cinema by the sea.

Ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Ideally it’s a coffee in bed or at the kitchen table. I like sitting by the window with some good soul music on the record player and an espresso. I like gentle mornings.

What’s for breakfast?
I tend to walk down to Åpent Bakeri for a cappuccino and a croissant. The outdoor seating under the cherry trees is soothing during the summer. The Babbo Oslo bakery in Parkveien is also cute for a date or hanging out in a small group.

Lunch in or out?
Out! The Vandelay in the Barcode district, Grådi at Tøyen or Vespa & Humla in Grünerløkka are all options.

Any exercise?
Sunday is a day of rest.

A Sunday soundtrack?
A whole playlist, usually including Earth Wind and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love”, Carl Sims’ “Pity a Fool”, Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and Sérgio Santos’s “Marimba”.

Sunday culture must?
Vestkanttorget or Grünerløkka markets are charming and you can get anything from vintage vases and vinyl to Norwegian waffles. Last week I bought a hand-woven basket from Tanzania and a glass vase from Venice. On rainy days, Henie Onstad is my favourite museum. I grew up in the neighbourhood.

News or not?
These days, I’m limiting news but if I do it’s The New York Times and Hyperallergic for art news. As for podcasts, it’s either Reply All or Song Exploder.

A glass of something?
Maybe a glass of white or rosé. Lately I’ve been into Matassa Olla Blanc.

What’s on the menu?
In the summer I like to make a simple salad – perhaps with fennel, nectarines and fresh mozzarella – or rigatoni with courgettes and ricotta.

Sunday evening routine?
A walk in the Vigeland sculpture park or a stroll by the sea at Bygdøy are my favourite ways to spend the evening, see the sunset and also get some walking in.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Classic chelada

The name of this refreshing Mexican number is believed to be a contraction of “mi chela helada”, something like “my cold beer”. It’s a simple version of that, which is good for barbecues or hot days. “You don’t necessarily have to use a Mexican beer; just pour your favourite,” says chef Ralph Schelling. “In Switzerland, for example, I like to use Appenzeller Alpenbitter or Flühgass.”

Illustration: Xihanation

Serves 4

Ingredients

Juice of 2 limes
Chilli salt (or Mexican condiment Tajín)
4 lime slices
12 ice cubes, crushed
3 330ml bottles of lager
Thinly sliced red chilli as a garnish (optional) 200ml pineapple juice (optional)

Method

  1. Moisten the rims of four medium-sized glasses with lime juice and chilli salt.
  2. Fill up with ice, beer and remaining lime juice and garnish with lime and chilli.
  3. Adding 50ml of pineapple juice per glass adds a fruity kick. Refill at leisure.

ralphschelling.com

Ralph’s recipes for the perfect picnic can be found in full in the July/August double issue of Monocle. Buy your copy here or take out a subscription so you don’t miss an issue.

Weekend plans? / Mykonos

After the party

Greece is the home of mythology so it’s perhaps fitting that Mykonos’s reputation for beauty, sun and salubrious nights has long been little short of legendary (writes Debbie Pappyn). The small Cycladic island has done what many destinations have tried and failed to do: it has become, in effect, a brand. That said, a few fallow years of cancelled holidays and grounded flights have helped to bring down the temperature a little. The step-change can be seen most clearly in hospitality projects that reflect the island’s unique topography and charm, instead of feeling as though they could have been transplanted wholesale from anywhere else in the Mediterranean.

Image: David De Vleeschauwer
Image: David De Vleeschauwer

There are still places to party, such as Scorpios (part of Soho House), but properties such as Kalesma Mykonos to the island’s west signal a shift in tone. The hotel – which features 13 one-bedroom suites, 12 one-bedroom villas and two grand villas – resembles a village from afar and everything from the ingredients used in its restaurant to the materials chosen for its construction are designed to fit in rather than to stand out. With 35 guestrooms, nine suites and a series of sumptuous villas and hilltop options, Belvedere Mykonos Hotel is Monocle’s pick of the bunch. The location near Rohari Hill is a winsome whitewashed spot from which to explore Mykonos town. The recent revamp by Greek architecture studio Concept Boarding is a triumph. Here is our itinerary for an island trip.

To stay
Theoxenia Hotel
This landmark opened in 1960 but received a revamp in July. A great town centre base from which to explore.
mykonostheoxenia.com

The Wild Hotel
On a cliff near Kalafatis beach, this hotel combines earthy, natural tones and Cycladic architecture in its 40 suites.
thewildhotel.com

Belvedere Hotel Mykonos
It’s hard to see past the sushi at this hotel’s Matsuhisa restaurant but don’t leave without enjoying a drink at the Sunken Watermelon bar or meal at the recently renovated Pool Club.
belvederehotel.com

To eat
Mathios Tavern
Hosts Vaggelio and Dimitris have served Greek classics at their taverna in Tourlos, Mykonos Town, since 1964.
mathiostavern.com

To swim
Lia beach
Mykonos has plenty of beaches, from party-central Super Paradise Beach to tranquil Lia.

To escape the crowds
Taverna Nikolas
Tucked away on Agia Anna beach, Taverna Nikolas has been run by the same family for more than 50 years.
nikolas-taverna.com

To experience village life
Ano Mera
Have an ouzo at unfussy Odos Araxame. There’s often live jazz at tavern Vardaris and the nearby Oti Apomeine serves what could be the best grilled food on the island.

To visit a farm
Rizes
A farmstead for breakfast, lunch or a cooking workshop.
rizesmykonos.com

For the full report and more Mediterranean itineraries pick up a copy of our summer newspaper, ‘Monocle Mediterraneo’, which is out now.

Summer playlist 03 / Afternoon Delight

Heat of the moment

In the third part of his summer playlist, Monocle 24’s senior culture correspondent, Fernando Augusto Pacheco, has selected the perfect sounds for an afternoon of sunbathing, with scorching-hot tracks ranging from 1990s classics to Cali soul.

  1. “Summer Blue” by Bread & Butter
  2. “Imizamo” by Karyendasoul and Blaqrhythm feat. Nana Atta and Teezy Musician
  3. “Dreams of Music” by Aura Safari
  4. “Enty Hayaty” by Saad Lamjarred feat. Calema
  5. “Vamos a la Playa” by Miranda
  6. “It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends)” by Minnie Riperton
  7. “Ain’t Nobody Straight in LA” by Whale Island
  8. “Instant Sunshine (Luke Million remix)” by Lau
  9. “Sheltered Life” by Erlend Øye
  10. “Western Wind” by Carly Rae Jepsen
  11. “L’âme-stram-gram” by Mylène Farmer
  12. “Calma” by Marisa Monte
  13. “French Waltz” by Leon Ware
  14. “Só Para Você” by Juniper feat. Sango and Vhoor
  15. “Together Again” by Janet Jackson
  16. “Se a vida é (That’s the Way Life Is)” by Pet Shop Boys
  17. “Breathe” by Télépopmusik
  18. “Summer Breeze” by The Isley Brothers
  19. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Roy Ayers Ubiquity
  20. “Pick Up Your Heart” by Paige Bea
  21. “Rhythm to Ya Love” by Sunni Colón
  22. “Sunchyme” by Dario G

To listen to the playlist – and several others by Fernando – search for Monocle 24’s account on Spotify. And be sure to tune in to our round-the-clock programming at monocle.com/radio for more.

Parting shot / Take the slow train

Sleeper hit

Monocle’s quality of life-themed July/August issue, which is out now, includes a feature espousing 25 tips for living well and being happy. Here’s a simple one to track: try to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Image: Kohei Take

Before bullet trains and domestic air travel became commonplace, Japanese travellers used to cross the country by sleeper train. These days, sleepers have all but disappeared but for a more stately view of Japan, we recommend an overnight trip on the Sunrise Express. It leaves Tokyo Station daily at 22.00 and heads west to Okayama, which is more than 600km away, pulling in at 06.27. There are a variety of sleeping arrangements, from the open-plan nobinobi compartment (good for heavy sleepers) to a single deluxe cabin. The Sunrise is no Orient Express – expect a shower cubicle and vending machines – but clean functionalism is something that Japan does well and travellers load up with snacks and bento boxes before they board. Once in your private cabin, you can slip into the yukata cotton robe and slippers, switch off the light and enjoy the nightscape unfolding before your eyes. One piece of advice: travel light because there isn’t room in the cabin for a chunky suitcase. Oh, and enjoy the journey. Have a super Sunday.

Give yourself (or treat a friend to) the latest issue of Monocle or access to our Digital Editions, including the Monocle archive and exclusive city guides for wherever the summer takes you. Subscribe today.

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