This week we serve up a smartly branded new apéro, check in at a Viennese retailer’s first hotel opening in Prague and ask chef Adriana Cavita about her weekend itinerary. Elsewhere, we offer a Japanese-inspired take on a classic Italian dish, leaf through a canny new magazine and uncover an island escape off the French coast. First up, our editorial director, Tyler Brûlé, brings us up to speed.
Do you recall the last time you touched down in a city, region or country, found yourself completely disoriented and had to spend the better part of your first day recalibrating and trying to make sense of the new surroundings? When I decided to finally block out a few days to visit Galicia, book a flight to Santiago de Compostela and chart a little tour around the region visiting friends, I thought that it would be a pleasant little summer break but not quite so challenging in terms of first and lasting perceptions. Allow me to illustrate.
The approach into Santiago de Compostela’s airport was low and gentle; the pilot did a few easy turns over the gently rounded hills, dense forests, wind turbines, herds of cattle and well-maintained farms. Where were we? Was this really a stretch of Spain hugging the Atlantic or were we over Bavaria? A few minutes later the wheels were down, we hit the damp runway, rolled up to the gate and disembarked. Inside, the terminal had the same signage and iconography of any other Spanish airport; for some reason this felt reassuring, as if to confirm that we hadn’t landed in a lush part of Austria or Slovenia.
My friend Sagra was on hand to meet us in Santiago. She grew up in the city and, after a coffee and orange juice, she spun us around town pointing out the key sites, guiding us into cosy little shops and explaining how the Galicians clearly had a hand in creating what we now know as mass tourism with the creation of the money-spinning pilgrimage. A quick pit-stop in the Sargadelos ceramics shop was good for stocking up on gifts made in the region, while a round of beers and wine in the modernist Café Bar El Muelle felt more São Paulo than what I’d expected from Santiago. So far, so surprising.
We said our goodbyes to Sagra, jumped in our car and headed toward Corrubedo to visit our friends Evelyn and David. En route a flurry of text messages had us rerouting our journey and Evelyn suggested a visit to the factory of Galician fashion brand D-due. As we’d already featured the company in Konfekt, I was somewhat familiar with their silhouettes and commitment to fabric innovation but the immaculate factory, quality of the collection and fact that more than 80 per cent of the D-due’s sales are in Japan were a revelation. It was also an introductory explanation as to why Galicia also gave birth to significantly bigger players, such as Inditex and Adolfo Domínguez, and why the region is one of those corners of Europe that still has the ability to make a bit of everything – cars, ships, good beer, excellent wine, furniture and leather bags for the likes of Loewe.
After our factory tour, we drove into the fog bank that had enveloped Corrubedo, changed into swimming trunks and went for a long walk down the beach. Along the way, David offered a full socioeconomic, geopolitical briefing on Galicia. As the sun attempted to poke through, David explained the ambitions and opportunities for this unique corner of Europe. Was he selling me on real estate or simply outlining his hopes for this determined, autonomous part of Spain? By the time we returned to the house, I had a better fix on what made the area tick and suddenly felt that another 48 hours weren’t going to be quite enough to fully get to grips with the other main cities, let alone the interior.
The following morning we made our way to A Coruña, which is home to Inditex and thousands of young Spaniards who want to work in the fashion industry, while also enjoying beach life. The city has a presence and sense of scale that came as a bit of a surprise – in the most positive way.
I had never heard of Sanxenxo but there it was on the highway signs and GPS. Our destination was Sagra’s beach house and, as the kilometres ticked down and the road twisted along the coast, I was reminded of being in Santa Barbara, leafier suburbs north of Auckland or parts of Sydney. Sagra has one of those set-ups (dogs, kids, relatives, rosé and a rambling house) that immediately puts you at ease. The reappearance of the sun had us down on the beach within minutes of unpacking.
Vigo. Wow! We’d done a story in Monocle quite recently but, to be frank, we didn’t do it justice. It’s frequently ranked as the Spanish city boasting the best quality of life but also the most rainy days. I was completely taken from the moment we parked beachside for lunch and then drove into the city to marvel at the brutalist apartments, 1950s office buildings and grand boulevards. It’s one of those places that has you gazing upward to the lush balconies and wondering what these families do for a living, what their weekends look like and how you might decorate a sprawling, 300 sq m apartment from the 1960s.
Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a bit more Galicia in our pages over the coming months.
Oliver Man and Alex Beausire co-founded drinks company These Days to bring the aperitivo custom to UK palettes. “I knew that there was so much more than the Aperol spritz,” says Man. “I looked at the problems of the category and found confusing branding, difficult serving suggestions and outdated recipes.”
These Days looks to bring some simplicity to the mix. Its two spritzes are made with organic white wine from Château Saint Cyrgues in the Côte du Rhône and all-natural ingredients, extracts and infusions. The Sundown Spritz is made with chinotto (a bitter-but-beautiful citrus fruit extract) and blood orange. The Venetian Spritz is a peach-and-honey variation. “I wanted to put forward a vision of the brand that is full of personality, with a few nods to tradition,” says Beausire, who is behind the packaging. “We love classic aperitivos; we just wanted to update them a bit.”
In Austria the name Julius Meinl is synonymous with coffee, chocolate and gourmet grocery shops, including a flagship in Vienna (writes Joann Plockova). Now in its sixth generation, the retail family has ventured into hospitality. “Service, accessible luxury and a feeling of home have always been in our DNA,” Julius Meinl VI (pictured) tells Monocle.
The 168-key hotel, which opened in July, is spread across three buildings in a neo-Renaissance pile. The setting was updated by Milan-based Matteo Thun & Partners and sits on the recently renovated Senovážné Square, a short amble from Prague’s Old Town and central train station. Inside, the colour palette of oranges, greens and blues is inspired by the late Czech painter Alphonse Mucha and there’s plenty in the way of natural materials, from wood to ceramics. Plans for the next Julius hotels include outposts in Budapest, Warsaw and Vienna, followed by spots in Rome and Milan. “Here we’ve put our central European heritage forward,” says Meinl.
Born and raised in the small town of San Felipe Ixtacuixtla, 100km east of Mexico City, Adriana Cavita always adored her home country’s culinary culture. After training in some of the Mexican capital’s best restaurants, she relocated to London and this year opened her restaurant, Cavita, in Marylebone. Here, the chef shares her Sunday itinerary.
Where do we find you this weekend?
I’m taking a break from the craziness of the restaurant and going on a day trip to Rye in East Sussex. I want to explore.
What’s your ideal way to begin a Sunday – a gentle start or a jolt?
Gently on a Sunday. Working in a restaurant can leave me feeling restless. I’ll make myself a latte and cook some Mexican-style scrambled eggs with refried beans, tomatoes, coriander and chilli.
Lunch in or out?
I’ll go to the Greenberry Café quite near me in Primrose Hill. It has a really good brunch menu and I usually order the roast pumpkin and poached eggs with a bit of sourdough; or the french toast.
If any, I’ll do a little hot yoga.
A Sunday soundtrack?
I really like “Gracias a la Mañana” by Rodrigo Gallardo. He’s a great Spanish DJ and always lifts my mood.
Sunday culture must?
I go to Tate Modern on London’s South Bank but if the weather is good I’ll head for Hampstead Heath and take a picnic.
A glass of something?
Sometimes I will treat myself to a bit of mezcal.
What’s on the dinner menu?
I like to go out in the evenings and try a new restaurant. If I cook, I’ll make something easy like Mexican-style prawns with a well-dressed but simple side salad.
Sunday evening routine?
I usually call my family in Mexico, I really miss them.
Are you preparing Monday’s outfit?
No, I like to see how I feel when I wake up.
This Japanese or wafu take on an Italian classic won’t disappoint. Opt for Asian mushrooms where possible. “I highly recommend using oyster or king oyster mushrooms for texture and shiitake for flavour,” says Nishimura. And for the citrussy kick? “Yuzu kosho is a fermented condiment made from fresh green chilli, yuzu zest and juice, and salt.”
400g Asian mushrooms
3 tbsps olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp yuzu kosho
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps chopped chives (or shiso leaves)
For the ‘mentsuyu’ sauce base
2 tbsps light soy sauce
2 tsps mirin
½ tsp dashi powder
Or use 2 tbsps mentsuyu, a premixed broth concentrate available in Asian supermarkets or online
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic in a frying pan. When the garlic starts to colour, add the mushrooms and salt, and cook until lightly browned. Don’t stir the mushrooms too much or they will go soggy; let them brown for a few minutes and then stir to cook evenly.
Once the pasta is al dente, add 2 tbsps of its cooking water to the mushroom mix. Stir in the mentsuyu and yuzu kosho until dissolved and let the sauce begin to bubble. Toss the pasta with the sauce to dress it, add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, top with chives and serve immediately.
Of France’s 15 Atlantic islands, Île d’Yeu is the furthest from the mainland, making it a great place for those looking to enjoy the last days of summer away from it all (writes Annick Weber). “The island is steeped in tradition and has a strong identity,” says Guillaume Foucher, co-owner of Les Hautes Mers hotel and the Les Domaines de Fontenille group. With the recent opening of his venue there, Foucher and his partner Frédéric Biousse are marking their seventh property and a new chapter in the history of this small island off the Vendée coast.
Their hotel stays true to the area’s vernacular with whitewashed façades, tiled roofs and 17 guest rooms, most of which have views to the ocean. Inspired by the island’s seafaring heritage, the rooms all feature nautical nods and are awash with pastel blues. And there’s a small outdoor pool for early-morning dips and pre-dinner workouts – rest assured, the water will be warmer than the Atlantic.
In addition to working a full-time job at creative agency Touché in Los Angeles, Philippe Santini runs a publishing project about Corsica, from where his family hails. “I couldn’t create a similar magazine about anywhere else,” he says. “There needs to be a connection.” Since 2019 he has put together annual issues revealing the island’s potential through photographs of its wild peaks, coves and villages.
How did ‘Maquis’ begin?
Corsica is sacred to me but I wasn’t seeing it represented through a modern lens with beautiful artistic direction. The title, ‘Maquis’, refers to the Corsican scrubland, with its distinctive smell that envelops the mountains. The island has everything: a mix of cultures, mountains, wild horses, beaches and deserted areas. We’re working on our fifth issue and there’s still so much to cover.
Who is ‘Maquis’ for?
It’s for an international audience, which is why it’s in French and English, but it’s also for residents; it has an insider spirit.
Issue 4 of ‘Maquis’ is available now from maquis.co
Santini’s Corsican itinerary
Le Couvent de Pozzo, Pozzo
A 15th-century stone monastery in the island’s “finger”. You can take in a breathtaking view from its azure pool.
A farm in northern Corsica that hosts artists in residence, puts on performances and organises foraging trips.
Parc Galea, Taglio-Isolaccio
On the eastern side of the island is this museum surrounded by a cactus park. It holds conferences on nature, ecology and geopolitics.
In the world of smartphones, it can be hard to stand out (writes David Phelan). The front is all screen, the back is all, well, back. So the new phone from Nothing catches the eye with its transparent glass reverse featuring 900 white LEDs. Nothing is the company co-created by Carl Pei, formerly of phone brand Oneplus.
The LEDs are there for a purpose too: if you want to be less distracted, turn your phone face down; when it rings, the lights will react in time to the ringtone. They can also be a gentler alternative to flash when using one of the two rear cameras. The 6.55-inch OLED display with fast refresh rate is impressive, especially at half the price of an iPhone. Ultimately it’s your call. nothing.tech