Sunday 18 September 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 18/9/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

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This weekend we’re whisking our faithful readers to a revamped pool bar in a classic Lisbon hotel, heading for the lesser-seen eastern shores of a well-known Indonesian island and leafing through a hotel brand’s new book and magazine. Plus: a Hamburg-based hospitality firm’s new drinks venture, a tasty noodle dish from chef Ralph Schelling and a top table in upstate New York. First, here’s Monocle’s editorial director, Tyler Brûlé, with an observation from the road.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Clean start

It’s midday on Friday and Heathrow’s Terminal 2 is bustling with waves of arrivals from the US, Canada, Ireland, Portugal and the Nordics. There are no snaking queues, no gridlock at the automated passport gates, and everything seems to be running like it should at a large global hub – passengers shuffling and striding along, planes landing and luggage hopefully bound for where it’s been tagged.

Beyond the customs corridor and one level down, the scene is rather different. I consider taking the Heathrow Express but, given the crowds pouring into the capital to pay their respects to the Queen and all the people coming into London Paddington station, I opt for a taxi all the way into town and walk over to the rank. The queue is a bit longer than usual and seems to be moving in that slightly stop-start, stop-start manner that makes you wonder if many travellers leave their common sense at the baggage carousel. After a family from Kuwait creates a bit of chaos as they try to get a mountain of luggage into three taxis, it’s my turn and I thankfully get an old-fashioned London taxi, rather than a Mercedes van or one of those slightly out-of-scale electric beasts.

The journey starts in silence. I tell the driver where I’m heading but there’s no chitchat about the weather, where I’ve come from or why I’m in London. I open the window and breathe in the not-exactly-fresh air on the way out of Heathrow. As we lean into the roundabout and hit the motorway, I’m surprised by the lack of vehicles heading into London on a Friday afternoon. I’m tempted to ask the cabbie for his take on the light traffic but he doesn’t seem like the chatty type so I settle into answering emails, glancing up at approaching aircraft and plotting out the weekend ahead.

Off the motorway, the traffic has started to slow as the outside lanes in both directions are closed. It isn’t the traffic cones and flashing lights that make me peer out and pay attention but the appearance of vegetation. For the better part of three years I’ve noticed that the roads in and out of Heathrow (and, indeed, much of London) have become a tangled mess of grass, PET bottles, shredded plastic bags, sandwich wrappers, glass bottles and other items flung from passing vehicles. Less traffic during coronavirus also created opportunities for sprayers to cover fences and walls. In short, a thriving, living example of “broken-window syndrome”.

But today is different. The bushes, trees and grass look happier and, save for small shreds of paper and the odd cigarette butt, most of the rubbish is gone. Further along, there is a team with lawnmowers and weed-whackers thinning out the undergrowth and, on the other side of the road, another team is going about similar activities. “You do know what’s going on here, don’t you?” asks the cabbie, coming to life. “This is all about keeping up appearances because this is the route that most heads of state and royals will be using when they come into London.”

As we drive through Hammersmith, lampposts are being painted black, cherry-pickers are swinging about sawing off branches and smudged walls suggest that graffiti has recently been erased. “It’s a bit sad that it had to come to this, isn’t it?” asks the driver. “The poor Queen had to die to make people wake up and look around, and see how shabby things had become.” Has the driver somehow been reading my mind? Is he a regular listener of The Urbanist? “I couldn’t agree more,” I respond. “I’ve been having the exact same thoughts these past few years while making this journey.”

“It gives you hope, doesn’t it?” he says, gesturing at a young man with a paint roller on a long pole, covering a lamppost in glossy black. “If we put our minds and muscle into it, we can make things better.”

For the rest of the journey, we chat about the weekend ahead (he says that he isn’t going to work over the coming days) and his hopes for what might come next. Is this a necessary wake-up call? Is this extraordinary mobilisation of bureaucracy, machinery and manpower just the symbol that the nation and world needs to see? “I hope that the Queen’s looking down and smiling because people are getting off their arses and making this a better-looking place – and hopefully not just the places where the TV cameras will be focused.”

Eating out / Ritz Pool Bar, Lisbon

Perfect circle

Overlooking the greenery of Lisbon’s Parque Eduardo VII, the Ritz Pool Bar is a timely addition to an iconic hotel. A section of the ample concrete terrace has been renovated by Lisbon-based studio Openbook and features a pool surrounded by terracotta-hued loungers. The circular structure, built in 1959, has also been given a new lease of life and now includes a bar that serves poolside staples such as lobster roll. Also on the menu are a tempting wagyu burger and a salmon ceviche.

Image: João Guimarães

The matter of renewal can be fraught in the hotel industry, which is often obsessed with novelty. That said, the Four Seasons-owned Ritz is on the right side of history here and has kept its charm, original artwork and a sense of the past. The pool is reserved for the hotel’s guests but the bar is open to all. See you there.

Bright idea / Companion aperitivos by 25hours

Bottoms up

Monocle’s editors are, let’s say, “well acquainted” with the bars at several of 25hours’ 12 smart hotels in cities from Düsseldorf to Dubai. So you can imagine our excitement at hearing that the company is distilling its expertise into a new business. Companion aperitivos, available in Sicilian orange or Amalfi lemon varieties, are made in the Italian tradition at the Nordcraft Distillery in Hamburg.

Image: Tony Hay

The concept? “Creating a high-quality alternative to the same old industrial products,” says Companion’s co-founder Steffen Fox. We’ll drink to that. As for the name being the same as our latest paperback? Well, we’re always happy to be in good company.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Chilled buckwheat noodles with hot-and-sour tamarind broth

A lively combination that makes for an ideal light dinner or lunch on a warm day. Though our chef and recipe writer Ralph Schelling is devoted to good dining, he isn’t a stickler for authenticity when it comes to this dish. “Soba noodles are Japanese,” he says. “The sauce? Not so much.”

Illustration: Xihanation

Serves 4


For the broth
50g tamarind paste
120ml pineapple juice
60ml orange juice
15ml lime juice
20ml soy sauce
3 tbsps gochujang paste
3 tbsps sriracha sauce
1 tbsp cane sugar

Other ingredients
200g buckwheat (soba) noodles
2 spring onions, finely chopped


Combine all of the broth ingredients in a pan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Once warmed through, purée the mix in a food processor (or using a hand blender) and add more soy to taste. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature or place in the refrigerator.

Cook the buckwheat noodles according to the packet instructions in slightly salted water but leave them a little firm.

Rinse under cold running water and divide into bowls.

Dip the noodles into the sauce or pour the cooled sauce over them. Garnish with the spring onions and serve.

Sunday Roast / Joe Kudla

Great outdoors

Joe Kudla is the CEO of San Diego-based activewear brand Vuori, founded in 2015 (writes Grace Charlton). After successfully making a mark in the US, the label recently expanded its bricks-and-mortar business to London, with a Covent Garden outpost. We caught up with Kudla to hear about his Sunday rituals.

Image: Vuori

Where will we find you this weekend?
Here in California, in my hometown of Encinitas, spending the day with my family and friends on the beach.

What’s your ideal way to begin a Sunday – a gentle start or a jolt?
It depends what my Saturday has in store. I definitely need gentleness in my life but I don’t think that I would enjoy it as much if I didn’t balance it with the occasional jolt. I love getting up with the sun, heading out on my bike or into the ocean for a surf. And if I do that on Saturday, I’ll spend Sunday waking up slowly with the family – maybe doing a little stretching, making some pancakes with my children and taking them for a cycle ride.

Do you have a dog?
I love dogs but I don’t have one. My daughters remind me of that every day.

What’s for breakfast?
I like to start my day light. I used to drink a lot of coffee; I have a love-hate relationship with it. Otherwise, some scrambled eggs and avocado before I leave the house.

What are your pantry essentials?
Without question, a good olive oil. I put it on everything.

Lunch indoors or outside?
I love both options but at Vuori we’ve implemented an hour when we insist that all employees leave their computers and go outdoors. So in that spirit, I have to say “outside”.

Any regular Sunday activities?
We go to the farmers’ market every Sunday morning. It’s a ritual. We love supporting businesses from the area. It’s also a great place for our children to run around and expend some energy, and meet friends.

Who’s joining you for dinner?
My wife, Elan, and our two daughters, Willa and Tavi. We love entertaining but Sunday evenings are definitely for our immediate family. I’m travelling a lot these days so those Sunday evenings are sacred.

A glass of something that you recommend?
I appreciate a cold glass of saké because grape wine gives me the worst headaches.

Will you lay out your outfit for Monday?
Not unless I have a big event to attend. In the business that I’m in, I have full permission to wear sweatpants to work.

Weekend plans? / Stissing House, Pine Plains, New York

Friendly fire

From chef Clare de Boer, founder of the much-loved King in New York, comes a new tavern in Pine Plains, east of the Hudson River. The building that Stissing House occupies dates back to 1782 and is one of the oldest inns in the US. “The wonky beams and worn fireplaces made it irresistible,” De Boer tells Monocle. There are three fireplaces in the dining rooms and two more hearths in the kitchen. “Upstairs the floorboards are old-growth American boards,” she says. The menu is fittingly cosy, with home-made bread, spit-roasted chicken and pheasant cooked in a wood-fired oven. And for dessert? Sticky toffee pudding or ginger cake with rhubarb. “It’s simple country cooking that uses produce from close by, cooked in the hearth,” says De Boer.

Image: Chris Mottalini

For more of the best food, drink and travel, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Monocle or subscribe to access our digital editions.

The Stack / ‘Villeggiatura’ and ‘Belmond Mondes’

Page impression

Like travel, a deftly designed magazine or beautiful book can change the way you see the world and leave a lasting impression. Since 1976, Belmond has amassed some of the world’s best resorts and hotels, and has marked this achievement with the release of two smart new publications. Its in-house magazine, Belmond Mondes, calls on the skills of photographer Henry Bourne and writers such as Zanele Kumalo to survey the world of travel, while Villeggiatura, a hefty hardback published by Assouline, focuses squarely on Belmond’s properties in the bel paese. Bravo.

Image: Tony Hay

Parting shot / Lost Lindenberg, Bali

Into the wild

We end each issue of Monocle magazine with an image, place or idea that has made our editors’ day. In the October issue, which is out now, we make for the treetops to find some perspective.

Image: Robert Rieger

On a lesser-trodden stretch of Bali’s western shoreline, a two-hour drive from Seminyak, sits the Lost Lindenberg hotel. Designed by Alexis Dornier and Maximilian Jencquel, it is German firm Lindenberg’s first property in Indonesia. Take a berth on the top floor for coastal views and a heightened sense of what makes a little perspective so important. Welcome to the jungle. Oh, and have a super Sunday.

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